African art > Bronze rider, wooden rider, dogon, yoruba > Dogon horseman
Dogon horseman (N° 23455)
Bronze sculpture depicting a mythical horseman, ancestor or Dogon religious leader. Pale green patina.
The frequent representations of riders among the Dogon of Mali refer to their cosmogony and their complex religious myths. Indeed, one of the Nommos, ancestors of men, resuscitated by the creator god Amma, descended to earth carried by an ark transformed into a horse. In addition, the highest authority of the Dogon people, the religious leader named Hogon, paraded on his mount during his enthronement because according to custom he was not to set foot on the ground. In the region of the cliffs of Sangha, inaccessible on horseback, the priests wore it, while neighing in reference to the mythical ancestor Nommo.
Dogon blacksmiths form an endogamous caste among the Dogon called irim. They now produce weapons, tools, and also work with wood. "Masters of fire" associated in the Dogon cosmogony with the primordial beings "Nommo" created by the god Ama, they are also supposed to heal burns. Small metal objects, made using the lost-wax technique, were once common in the Inner Niger Delta region, with copper reaching it through trans-Saharan trade.
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