Dogon Dyodyodune Mask
- Tribe: Dogon
- Origin: Bamako, Mali
- Approx Age: 1970's- 80's
- Materials: Wood, plant fibre
- Dimensions cm: 54 tall x 24 wide
- Ref. Number: M0543
A lovely and rare Dogon Dyodyodune mask originally from the Bamako region of Mali. The Dyodyodune is a healers mask owned by the medicine men of the villages. Big round white eyes, wide lipped mouth with a protruding nose, the ears are pierced all the way around. The majority of the face is an ochre type colour, this continues to the forehead where a wavy white line is painted and an adornment of red plant fibre is fixed. To the top of the mask 4 carved ancestor figures are surmounted to call upon for giving the healer strength to carry out his work and rid the village of any illness. This piece still has the bite stick to the rear and a tie strap either side to fix to the head whilst dancing. To me it is one of the quirkier masks that the Dogon carve. There has been a repair to one of the figures on top due to being broken, this can be seen in a close up photo.
The Dogon are best known for their extensive carving of masks and wooden figurative art. The primary colors used by the Dogon are usually red, black, and white, and popular patterns include spirals and checkerboard motifs, both of which can be traced to their origin stories.
Early history is informed by oral traditions, which claim that the Dogon originated from the west bank of the Niger River (10th to 13th centuries). They emigrated west to northern Burkina Faso, where local histories describe them as kibsi. Around 1490, they fled a region now known as the northern Mossi kingdom of Yatenga when it was invaded by Mossi calvary. They ended up in the Bandiagara cliffs region, safe from the approaching horsemen. Carbon-14 dating techniques used on excavated remains found in the cliffs suggest that there were inhabitants in the region before the arrival in the Dogon, dating back to the 10th century. Those Dogon who did not flee were incorporated into Mossi society and were known as the nyonyose, or descendants of the first inhabitants.
Dogon religion is defined primarily through the worshiping of the ancestors and the spirits whom they encountered as they moved across the Western Sudan. The Awa society is responsible for carrying out the rituals, which allow the deceased to leave the world of the living and enter the world of the dead. Public rites include bago bundo (funerary rites) and the dama ceremony, which marks the end of the mourning period. Awa society members are also responsible for planning the sigui ceremonies, which commence every sixty years to hand on the function of the dead initiates to the new recruits. All of these rites involve masking traditions and are carried out only by initiated males who have learned the techniques needed to impersonate the supernaturals. The leader of the Awa society is the olaburu who is a master of sigi so (the language of the bush). The society is divided in accordance with age-grades, ignoring traditional lineage and hierarchical ordering within the village.