Click main image below to view enlargements and captions.

Decorative Arts, Tropical Tree, Travelers Palm, Carved Painted Wood, 2nd Half 20th Century


Travelers Tree
Philippines [?]: 2nd Half 20th Century
Carved and painted wood
39.5 inches high, 33 inches wide, 6 inches deep

Stylized sculpture of a tropical tree, with broad, flat leaves branching in a dramatic fan shape, and a small tree stem and black naturalistic base.  It represents either the  the South American species Phenakospermum guyannense, or the Madagascar species Ravenala madagascariensis — both of which are closely related members of the flowering plant family Strelitziaceae — having large paddle-shaped leaves arranged the leaves distinctively issued in a plane from the center as an open fan.  Neither are true palms, although they both are sometimes referred to as Travelers Palm trees, possibly because the fan tends to grow on an east-west axis. The sculpture is skillfully carved to show the rippling shapes of the  leaves, and painted naturalistically in tones of green, the central portion reddish, and the older leaves at the bottom turning yellowish orange. The sculpture was perhaps made in Central or South America. The sculpture is fairly large, and would make a dramatic decorative statement in a southern or tropical home.

Condition: Generally very good, with the usual expected wear. A few cracks and chips restored.


“Ravenala.” Wikipedia. 23 October 2020. (29 October 2020).

Additional information


20th Century