African art > Mask > Dogon Mask
Dogon Kanaga Mask (N° 17819)
Kanaga African Mask of the Dogon, coated with black and white pigments. Patina matte abrased.
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In the funeral rites, members of the Awa society dance with masks on the roof of the house of the dead, to lead his soul (nyama) to its eternal rest and to defend the living. The Kanaga mask is also used to protect hunters from revenge from the prey they have killed.
This example is designed after a recurrent structure: a horizontal central plank, the bottom of which in this case forms an anthropozoomorphic mask with rectangular features, with arms attached by animal skin links on which fur remains, and whose ends are directed upwards and downwards. The conical mouth suggests the beak of a bird. In foreplay at the funeral or during mourning, many copies almost all identical, appear on the dance area, after having circulated in the alleys of the village. Depending on the degree of initiation, this mask will not have the same meaning when it is released during the mourning ceremony or during more festive exhibitions. It will be the Komolo bird, or, for the initiate, the Creator indicating the gesture heaven and earth. Its meaning, however, remains unclear. The wearers of this mask make a circular motion with their heads and then lower themselves towards the ground and suddenly straighten themselves in order to establish a link between the ground and the sky.
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