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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Dogon Sculptures : Dogon Bronze Sculpture of an Acrobat
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Dogon Bronze Sculpture of an Acrobat - PF.6289
Origin: Mali
Circa: 16 th Century AD to 18 th Century AD
Dimensions: 2.75" (7.0cm) high
Collection: African
Medium: Bronze

Location: United States
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Inhabiting the barren cliff sides of the Bandiagara Escarpment, near the great bend in the Niger River, the Dogon people led lives of physical austerity and spiritual wealth. They often performed religious ceremonies in which the arts played a crucial role. Ceremonies known as "rites of passage" mark the major life cycles, such as initiation or celebrations. Used in such rituals, the Dogon art form (including most bronzes) is always laden with rich symbolism, expressing their beliefs.

This bronze sculpture depicts a figure seated in an unusual posture: with his left leg held up against his shoulder. Such contorted figures are generally referred to by scholars as “acrobats.” However, the meaning of such works and the interpretation of such postures are open to debate. A thick patina covers the bronze, attesting to the age of the piece. The figure’s facial features, including the flat jaw-line and upside down T-shaped nose are characteristic of the Dogon style. This little bronze sculpture astounds us with its lively posture and unique artistry.
- (PF.6289)


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