Tribal art > African mask > Dogon mask
Dogon mask (N° 21367)
Topped with a high flat crest, this African Dogon mask is one of the many stylistic variations of Dogon masks, icons of Dogon tribal art. Angular features, eyes hollowed out in a triangle, thin protruding lips, and a protrusion extending the nose, characterize this mask carved in a dense wood, with a grainy surface.
Polychrome crusty patina with local flaking.
The Dogon are a people renowned for their cosmogony, their esotericism, their myths and legends. Their population is estimated at about 300,000 souls living southwest of the Niger loop in the Mopti region of Mali (Bandiagara, Koro, Banka), near Douentza and part of northern Burkina (northwest of Ouahigouya). The villages are often perched on the top of scree on the side of hills, according to a unique architecture. The history of the migrations and settlements of the Dogon (about ten main groups, about fifteen different languages), involves several hypotheses. For some historians, the Dogon would have fled from an area located west of their current location, following an aggression.
More than eighty types of African masks are listed among the Dogon, the best known of which are the Kanaga, Sirigé, Satimbé and Walu. Most of them are used by the circumcised initiates of the Awa society, during funeral ceremonies. The Awa refers to the masks, their costumes, and the set of Dogons serving the masks. Some evoke animals, in reference to the rich cosmogony and mythology of African Dogon art. The "nyama", the life force of the mask, is activated by various rituals to develop the full magical potential of the object.
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|Estimated dating||mid- xx°|
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