African art > Black iron objects, black iron masks > Dogon Iron
Iron Dogon zoomorphic figurine (N° 20757)
This Dogon iron was collected in the 1950s by Monsieur Arnaud, accompanying Alain Bilot,
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renowned collector of Dogon art, during study trips to Mali.
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.
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