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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Dogon Sculptures : Dogon Bronze Sculpture of a Mule
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Dogon Bronze Sculpture of a Mule - PF.5500
Origin: Southeastern Mali/Burkina Faso
Circa: 16 th Century AD to 18 th Century AD
Dimensions: 3.375" (8.6cm) high x 4.5" (11.4cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Bronze

Location: United States
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Dogon art has long been admired for its elegant forms and strong representational imagery. This extraordinary depiction of an African mule is a testament to the exceptional artistry of the Dogon people. The art of the Dogon people of Mali expresses a rich cultural heritage, representing complex religious beliefs, ritual practices and daily recreation.

The Dogon are an ethnic group from the eastern parts of Mali, spreading into the northwest of Burkina Faso. Much mystery and intrigue surround the Dogon people’s migration in to the steep slopes around Bandiagra. It is believed that they escaped from the cavalry armies of the Mossi some centuries ago into the safety of the Bandiagra cliffs where they have settled until today. We are left to ponder the question of their sudden resettlement. Were women and children forced to flee on foot or did animals such as this mule carry them?

Mounted upon the mule are a securely fastened saddle and reigns. Around his neck are pouches, ordinarily equipped to carry food and medicinal supplies for the duration of the journey. We imagine that many lives were ridden to safety upon the back of this diligent mule. Whose wife, son, or daughter was gallantly placed upon this mule to escape the Mossi cavalry? Did the family reunite in the safety of the Bandiagra escarpment?

Today, this saddled mule appears to be solemn without his rider. His lean body and limbs, once apt for galloping and leaping through the African terrain now rest still. He has been dutiful to many Dogon people, and now his handsome body serves us diligently as a vestige to Dogon art.
- (PF.5500)


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