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UMMA Object Specific Fields






Query builder

Staff

Accession Number
1971/2.28

Title
Staff

Artist(s)
Dogon

Artist Nationality
Dogon (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
1900-1971

Medium & Support
carved wood and patination

Dimensions
25 3/16 in x 2 in x 11 5/8 in (64 cm x 5 cm x 29.5 cm)

Credit Line
Museum Purchase assisted by the Friends of the Museum of Art

Label copy
The principle carvers among the Dogon are blacksmiths, who also make weapons and agricultural implements. The form and stylized carving on this staff resemble a number of Dogon staffs, including the YO DOMMOLO. YO DOMMOLO are staffs which belong to the ritual thieves, or YONA, of Dogon villages. Every family head is considered a YONA, though younger individuals can be appointed as substitutes. "Ritual thievery" was instituted to commemorate the ancestral blacksmith's theft of fire, for humans, from the heavens, which was done with an open-mouthed stick. Thus, YO DOMMOLO are characterized by carved heads with open mouths, pointed ears, and a line of zigzags down the back. YONA are representative of the ancestral blacksmith. They each hold a portion of the life-force of the ancestral smith which, at a YONA's death, is given back through the YO DOMMOLO. Following the death of a YONA, YONA from the surrounding areas gather and dance with the staffs hung over their shoulders.

Primary Object Classification
Wood and Woodcarving

Primary Object Type
staff

Collection Area
African

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form.

Keywords
Figures
canes (walking sticks)
carvings (visual works)
staff
woodwork

& Author Notes

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