African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Dogon bronze
Dogon figure (N° 20940)
Dogon statuette made of bronze, representing a kneeling woman whose arms extend from her shoulders to her breasts. The linear lines of the body are associated with traditional scarification.
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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" associated in Dogon cosmogony with the primordial beings "Nommo" created by the god Ama, they are also supposed to cure burns. Small metal objects, made using the lost wax technique, were widespread in the region of the interior delta of the Niger, copper reaching it thanks to the trans-Saharan trade. Excavations on the Bandiagara plateau have uncovered the remains of iron and steel sites dating back to the 15th century, the date of the arrival of the Dogon. Since the Islamization of the region, which prohibited human representations, small ritual objects of this type have disappeared.
Carved for the most part on commission by a family, the Dogon statues may also be the object of worship by the entire community. Their functions, however, remain little known.
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