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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Dogon Sculptures : Dogon Sculpture of a Seated Man
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Dogon Sculpture of a Seated Man - PF.6012
Origin: Mali
Circa: 19 th Century AD to 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 24.25" (61.6cm) high x 8.5" (21.6cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Wood


Location: United States
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Description
This is a fascinating representation of a seated male. He holds his phallus in his left hand and a similar looking device in his right. Perhaps, this figure might represent the person who performed ritual circumcisions. The elongated forms of the body are characteristic of the Wakara style; specifically the furrowed, angular beard, the arrow-shaped nose, and the crested coiffure incised with chevrons. The figures body is generally slender, especially his torso. He wears two armbands and two bracelets. Great attention has also been paid to the carving of the stool. Decorative incised bands fill the edges of the seat and base. The four arching support legs are further elaborated with the alternating representations of a stylized crocodile and human. Stylistically, the composition of this sculpture is related to images of the spiritual leader, called the Hogon. However, this sculpture is more likely the depiction of a different, albeit just as important, member of the community: the circumciser. He was responsible for performing the crucial rite in ceremonies that initiate young males into manhood. After this man died, he was memorialized in this statue so that the strength of his spirit could benefit his descendents. While this sculpture is in confrontation with discreet Westernized tastes, no doubt to the Dogon it signified the power and importance of the person it represents. - (PF.6012)

 

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