Dogon figure (Three quarters view)
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Item : Dogon figure, Picture : Three quarters view (approx. 16 Kbytes)


This statuette depicts a figure with sharply angled legs, and whose arms are bent at the elbows and at the wrists to create a step like form. The breasts are placed high on the torso and continue the mass of the shoulders. This stylization of the human body can be seen in many Dogon sculptures. The almost featureless face conforms to the simplification of forms that characterizes these sculptures. This piece probably represents a protective spirit (dege) or a nommo ancestor.
Sacrificial materials are poured on figure sculptures and other ritual objects found on personal altars, ancestral altars, in binu sanctuaries, and on altars dedicated to nommo. Many different substances are used for sacrifice, including the blood of chickens, sheep, and goats slaughtered for this purpose, mixtures of various plant juices with millet flour or flour made from the fruit and seeds of the baobab, concoctions of burned herbs, and shea oil. These sacrificial materials are vehicles for nyama, the vital force that determines a person's mental and physical well-being and allows a person to continue living. Nyama is found in all living things, including animals and plants, and in supernatural beings as well. It can be liberated from its support and transmitted to another being. When a sacrifice is made, the nyama of the sacrificial material strengthens and increases not only the nyama of the spiritual being to whom the sacrifice is offered but also that of the persons who perform the sacrifice.
16th / 17th century.

Object #4244

Origin :

Mali (Bandiagara cliffs area, village of Ireli)

Type :

Statuary

Ethnic group :

Dogon

Material :

Wood, iron necklace, sacrificial materials

Size :

H = 11.2 inches

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