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Between and Mortarboard


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Female Figure

Accession Number
2016/1.249

Title
Female Figure

Artist(s)
Dogon

Artist Nationality
Dogon (culture or style)

Object Creation Date
19th century

Medium & Support
carved wood and animal hide

Dimensions
29 in x 10 in x 9 in (73.66 cm x 25.4 cm x 22.86 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Michael and Phyllis Courlander

Subject matter

Dogon sculptures were often created for religious purposes, housed in shrines and placed upon altars to promote the fertility of both land and people. Dogon figure style diverges between tall and slim bodies with oval-shaped heads, and short, heavier figures. The concept of ancestral lineage is crucial in Dogon culture; sculptures are created by blacksmiths - revered in Dogon culture - and are used for ceremonial and initiation purposes. This dual figure represents a nommo, the offspring of the god Amma, merging with the head of a hogon, demonstrating man’s ascent towards heaven and the grounding of the spirit to the earth.

Sources:

Metropolitan Museum of Art. Museum label for Male Figure With Raised Arms. New York, NY.

Helene Leloup. "Dogon Figure Styles." African Arts 22, no. 1 (1988).

Roslyn Adele Walker. The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009.

Ezra, Kate. Art of the Dogon: Selections from the Lester Wunderman Collection. New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1988.

Laude, Jean. African Art of the Dogon. New York: The Viking Press, 1973.



Physical Description
Female figure seated on a stool carved from a single piece of wood. The figure has horizontal marks on the chest and upper arms. The figure's head is long and thin with protruding features and carved 'hair' extending over the head and down the back of the neck. The figure's left arm has remnants of a cuff made of animal hide. The stool is four-legged and the back legs are carved figures. 

Primary Object Classification
Sculpture

Primary Object Type
figure

Collection Area
African

Rights
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Keywords
ancestors
communication (function)
deities
shrines (structures)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display