Tribal art > Usual african items > Dogon altar
Dogon altar (N° 21303)
Dogon altar, made of a mass of clay in which miniature irons and ladders are stuck. Piece collected in the mid-20th century by Monsieur Arnaud, accompanying Alain Bilot,
renowned collector of Dogon art during study trips to Mali. These objects decorated the niches of the Ginnas. ("Dogon" H.Blom , p.234)
The Dogon blacksmiths form an endogamous caste among the Dogon called irim. Today they produce weapons, tools, and also work with wood. "Masters of fire" associated in Dogon cosmogony with the primordial beings "Nommo" created by the god Ama, they are also supposed to cure burns. Small metal objects, made using the lost wax technique, were widespread in the region of the interior delta of the Niger, with copper arriving thanks to trans-Saharan trade. Since the Islamization of the region, which prohibited human representations, small ritual objects of this type have disappeared.
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