African art > Usual items > Pot Dogon
Dogon ointment box in bronze (N° 14322)
Designed to collect medicinal preparations prepared from the advice of the elders who had been introduced to the science of trees or " jiridon ", this hemispheric container with a lid is topped with an effigy of mythical ancestor Nommos , genius associated with the creation of the world, guarantor of health and fertility. The walls are decorated with allegorical decorative motifs, such as wave friezes and spiral patterns, saurians and a shape associated with the Kanaga mask. The ensemble has a golden brown patina. These ornaments are supposed to activate the healing power of the active ingredients. Tiny shards of the patina located on the lid opening.
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The Dogons are a people renowned for their cosmogony, esotericism, myths and legends. Their population is estimated at about 300,000 souls living southwest of the Niger Loop in the Mopti region of Mali (Bandiagara, Koro, Banka), near Douentza and part of northern Burkina (northwest of Ouahigouya). Villages are often perched atop the scree at the edge of the hills, according to a unique architecture. The history of migration and the facilities of the Dogon (about ten main groups, fifteen different languages), relates to several hypotheses. According to some historians, the Dogons fled from an area west of their present location as a result of an assault. Dogon blacksmiths, forming an endogamous caste called irim, now produce weapons, tools, and also work wood. They are also supposed to treat burns (Huib Blom).
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