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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Dogon mask

Dogon Kanaga mask (N° 20908)

African art among the Dogon
In funeral rites, members of the Awa society, dance with the masks on the roof of the dead man's house, to lead his soul (nyama) to its eternal rest and to defend the living. The Kanaga mask is also used to protect hunters from the revenge of the prey he has killed. This example is designed according to a recurring structure: a central vertical board with "double arms" firmly attached by leather straps, and with the ends pointing up and down. Polychrome, faded patterns are still perceptible. The conical mouth evokes a bird's beak. Dry, grainy, matte surface. Erosions and lacks.

As a preliminary to funerals or during the mourning period, numerous examples, almost all identical, appear on the dance floor, after having circulated in the village alleys. Depending on the degree of initiation, this mask will not have the same meaning when it is brought out during the mourning ceremony or during more festive exhibitions. It will be the Komolo bird, or, for the initiate, the Creator indicating with his gesture the sky and the earth. The wearers of this mask adopt an impressive choreographic gesture symbolizing the union of the visible and invisible worlds.  

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OriginEx-collection française
Material(s)wood, cuir
Weight2.30 Kg
Estimated datingmid-xx°
Socle inclusOptional

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