African Dogon art.Male figure with columnar bust standing on bent legs. Short, small arms frame the face. Grainy matte surface, cracks.
The African tribal statues of the Dogon may also be the object of worship by the entire community when they commemorate, for example, the founding of the village. These statues, sometimes embodying the nyama of the deceased, are placed on ancestor altars and participate in various rituals including those of the seed and harvest periods. Their functions, however, remain little known.
The figures with raised arms always symbolized a prayer to Amma for the granting of the rain that is essential to all life, and it could also be a gesture of contrition following the violation of a law that led to a drought.
The southern part of the plateau overlooking the Bandiagara cliff has been occupied since the 10th century by the Tellem and Niongom. They were then displaced by the Dogon in the 15th century, who fled from the Mande. The Tellem became the ancestors of the Kurumba of Burkina Faso.
The Dogon statuary is not easily distinguished from that of the Tellemand nor from that of the Niongom because reciprocal influences have been manifested over the centuries. A recurrence: the figures with arms raised above the head , in a position of invocation.
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