Dogon Bronze Crown

  • Tribe: Dogon
  • Origin: Mali
  • Approx Age: 19th - early 20th century
  • Materials: Bronze
  • Dimensions cm: 21 Tall x 18 Wide 59 on stand
  • Ref. Number: 0110

This stunning late 19th / early 20th Century Dogon bronze crown would only be ever worn by the Hogon of the village during rituals. These cast figures and objects within the crown, despite their small size, express status, prestige and power. These cast metal figures and other objects exhibit the technical skill and artistry that Dogon blacksmiths brought to their work. Made by the complex traditional lost-wax process, these are all small enough to be cast solid. The Dogon used metal for their most important ritual objects as well as everyday objects, farming implements and weapons. Custom made stainless steel  stand included.

A hogon is a religious figure as well as a temporal authority; the hogon may be hereditary or may be chosen from among the village elders—custom varies from place to place. The hogon is always a man. After being chosen, a hogon must pass through several months without washing or shaving. After initiation, he wears a red cap, and a pearl bracelet. Hogon live alone and should be celibate, but a village girl may act as a maid. Nobody should touch the hogon.

It has become customary for tourists to bring small gifts of money or kola nuts for the hogon when visiting a village.

The Hogon has a key role in village rituals and in ensuring fertility and germination.
The Hogon is central to a wide range of fertility and marriage rituals, which are closely related to Dogon origin myths.
The Hogon may conduct rituals in the Sanctuaire de Binou, a special building whose door is blocked with rocks.

According to legend, the first hogon, Lebe, was descended from a nommo. He was eaten by another nommo, and their spirits merged; the nommo vomited out a new Lebe (part human and part spiritual), plus copious liquid which shaped the landscape