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Dogon Animal with Bowl Mali Collection African Art

Product #: 74021
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Title Dogon Animal with Bowl Mali Collection African Art
Type of Object Shrine or divination piece
Country of Origin Mali
People Dogon
Materials Wood
Approximate Age mid 20th century
Dimensions 15.5 inches L. x 7.5 inches H. x4.5 inches W.
Overall Condition Poor
Damage/Repair extensively worn, age and cracks, chips. exposure to the elements, crack in bowl, repair on the tail, encrustation in places

 Provenance: Richard and Libby Wheeler Collection

Richard and Elizabeth Wheeler are noted Chicago collectors of both Native American and African art.  We have recently purchased their superb African collection.

Certificate of provenance available!


Additional Information:  An extraordinary piece showing worn patina and encrustation in places.

The containerest on a quadruped. On each side of the animal belly are  a couple of  small figure, represnting Nommo  mythical beings. The surface shows traces of use and good age.

The present object comes from the Dogon people. Among the Dogon such sculpture with bowl were served as a container for ritual. Animal and human motifs on such containers recall the Dogon myth of creation. Amma, the Creator God, originally created eight humans known as Nommo, who were divided into four pairs, male and female, who in the Dogon creation myth come down to the earth in a kind of an ark, drawn by a horse or magically settling onto the earth. The figures, Nommo, refer not only to the mythological ancestors but also to the lineage ancestors of the owner of the containers. Therefore their imagery celebrates the gods while at the same time honoring the ancestors.

Such figural containers have multiple purposes.. The encrustation indicates the piece has been receiving sacrifices and offerings. It also shows signs of extended use and wear through time. Similar vessels were kept in the lineage elder's house and used to store offerings to be given to ancestors during annual rites that take place during the winter solstice known as goru.

Recommended Reading:Griaule, M. Masques Dogon. 1963; DeMott, B. Dogon Masks.1979.Imperato, PJ.P., Dogon Cliff Dwellers. 1978; Ezra, K. Art of the Dogon. 1988.

 I have examined this piece and agree with the description.
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.