African art > Bronze rider, wooden rider, dogon, yoruba > Dogon horseman
Dogon horseman in bronze (N° 21298)
The frequent representations of horsemen, among the Dogon of Mali, refer to their cosmogony and their complex religious myths. Indeed, one of the Nommos, ancestors of men, resurrected by the creator god Amma, came down to earth carried by an ark transformed into a horse. Moreover, the highest authority of the Dogon people, the religious chief named Hogon, paraded on his horse during his enthronement because according to the custom he was not supposed to set foot on the ground. In the region of the Sangha cliffs, inaccessible by horse, the priests carried him, neighing in reference to the mythical ancestor Nommo. The Dakar-Djibouti mission of 1931, led by Marcel Griaule, was charged with studying in depth the rites of this population established in the region of the cliffs of Bandiagara, southwest of the Niger loop. The Dogon, a people of cultivators, would be composed of several peoples having found refuge there following droughts or repeated invasions. This work was later supplemented by many eminent researchers and anthropologists.
The Dogon blacksmiths form an endogamous caste among the Dogon called irim. Today they produce weapons, tools, and also work with wood. "Masters of fire", they are also supposed to heal burns (Huib Blom).
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