African art > Mask > Dogon Mask
Dogon Kanaga Mask (N° 18794)
In funeral rites, members of the society Awa , 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 the vengeance of the prey he has killed.
This piece is designed according to a recurring structure: a central vertical board with "arms" attached by leather ties and a mask with angular features.
Refreshed before each performance, a very beautiful matte polychromy in natural tones decorates the piece.
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As a prelude to the funeral or during the mourning rites, many almost identical copies appear on the dance floor, after having circulated through the village's alleys.
Depending on the degree of initiation, this mask will not have the same meaning when it is taken 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. However, its meaning remains obscure.
The wearers of this mask make a circular movement with their heads, then bend down towards the ground and suddenly stand up again in order to establish a link between the ground and the sky.
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