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These statuettes depict a couple of figures with truncated 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 torsos and continue the
mass of the shoulders. This stylization of the human body can be seen
in many Dogon sculptures (see attached video). The almost featureless
faces conform to the simplification of forms that characterizes these
sculptures. These pieces probably represent nommo ancestors.
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.
If you want to know more about this object or send us your remarks,
click here. Please notify us with this object id: 5324.
Mali (Bandiagara cliffs area)
Ethnic group :
Eroded wood, very fine sacrificial patina
H = 7.6 inches