African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Dogon mask
Ancient Dogon mask, carved in dense wood, with powerful protruding features, and ears arranged high on either side of the forehead. Ochre patina, matt and powdery, with granular residual inlays. Desiccation cracks.
More than eighty types of Dogon masks are listed, of which the best known are the Kanaga, Sirigé, Satimbé and Walu. Most of them are used by the circumcised initiates of the Awa society, during funeral ceremonies. The Awa refers to the masks, their costumes, and the set of Dogons serving the masks. Some evoke animals, in reference to the rich cosmogony and mythology of African Dogon art. The "nyama", the life force of the mask, is activated by various rituals to develop the full magical potential of the object.