African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Dogon Maternity
Dogon Maternity (N° 17035)
This sculpture of African dogon art, carved from dense wood, personifies a female ancestor. She sits on a stool, a child on her lap. The necklace of amulets, or korte, which she wears around her neck and which contains verses from the Qur'an, testifies to the influence of Islam in the region. Beautiful matte patina. Grainy, abraded surface. Desication cracks. Acquired after 1950 by the owner in a German gallery.
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These statues, sometimes embodying the nyama of the deceased, are placed on the altars of ancestors and participate in various rituals including those of the seed and harvest periods. Parallel to Islam, the dogon religious rites are organized around four main cults: the Lebe, relating to fertility, under the spiritual authority of the Hogon, the Wagem, cult of ancestors under the authority of the patriarch, binou invoking the spirit world and led by the priest of Binou, and the society of masks concerning funerals.
On the dogon cosmogony, Dogon's first primordial ancestors, called Nommo, were the bisexual water gods. They were created in heaven by the creator god Amma and descended from heaven to earth in an ark.
The Nommo founded the eight dogon lineages and instilled weaving, the art of forging, and agriculture in their human descendants.
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