African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Dogon figure
Dogon Tellem Statue (N° 13804)
African Dogon art.
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Feminine figure with straight upright arms, it is embellished with sculpted effigies of the Nommos, mythical ancestors born of the god Amma. Irregular matt surface, eroded wood, gullies, cracks.
The African tribal statues of the Dogon can also be the object of worship by the entire community when they commemorate, for example, the founding of the village. These statues, sometimes embodying the nyama of the deceased, are placed on ancestor altars and participate in various rituals including those of the seed and harvest periods. Their functions, however, remain little known.
Influenced stylistically by the Tellem whom they replaced in the Bandiagara region from the 15th century, the Dogon adopted this same vertical position in their statuary.
Heirs to the Tellem works abandoned in the region, they adopted some of them and resacralized them for use in their own rites.
The figures with raised arms always symbolized a prayer to Amma to grant the rain that is essential to all life, and it could also be a gesture of contrition following the violation of a law that led to a drought.
The southern part of the plateau overlooking the Bandiagara cliff has been occupied since the 10th century by the Tellem and Niongom. They were then displaced by the Dogon in the 15th century, who fled from the Mande. The Tellem became the ancestors of the Kurumba of Burkina Faso.
The Dogon statuary is not easily distinguished from that of the Tellemand nor from that of the Niongom because reciprocal influences have manifested themselves over the centuries. A recurrence: the figures with arms raised above the head , in a position of invocation.
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|Estimated dating||circa 1960|
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