Large Dogon Couples Wedding Marriage Ceremony Statue

  • Tribe: Dogon
  • Origin: Mali
  • Approx Age: 1950-1960
  • Materials: Wood, iron rings
  • Dimensions cm: 96 tall x 51 wide x 19 depth
  • Ref. Number: M0527

A very rare Dogon couples wedding marriage statue/ figure in fantastic condition. This is a very heavy piece of wood which has been carved very skill-fully, with an encrusted patina from the libations it was covered in during the wedding ceremony. Each one of the figures is an iron ring through the nose and each of the two males has its arm positioned around the female and touching the breast. Down either side of the outer figures is a typical Dogon zig zag design which is quite difficult to see at a first glance. The female figure on the outer left as you look at it has sustained damage to her right breast and looks to have happened a long time ago. This figure / statue does stand well on its own without any help or props.

These large statues are carved for the bride and groom to be, and are bought out at the wedding ceremony to stand proud whilst the ceremony is in progress, and to which libations are poured over the figure at the beginning of this ritual.  After the ceremony these are taken home by the by the newly weds, cherished and even prayed over for a great future and harmony together. These statues are also called upon and questioned upon when there is a problem within the marital home.

Dogon – Marriage and Family
Marriage. Monogamy is the major form of marriage, although nonsororal polygyny with a limit of two wives is permitted. First marriages are generally arranged by parents; within certain limitations, those marrying for the second or third time are more free to choose their partners. Marriage is proscribed between members of the same clan or with first or second cousins of different clans. Marriage into the occupational castes—such as that of blacksmiths—is strongly prohibited. Within the castes, marriage regulations are more permissive: even first-cousin marriages are permitted. Prior to the birth of the first child, the wife lives at the home of her parents, while her husband continues to reside in the bachelor quarters where he has lived from the age of 8 to 10. Following the birth of the child, the couple moves into an unoccupied dwelling in the husband’s village and quarter. Divorce is not uncommon; it occurs most often in polygynous households. When a woman leaves her husband, she takes with her only the youngest child—the remaining children stay with the husband’s family.

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Domestic Unit. The household is usually an extended family consisting of both nuclear and polygynous units. This group tends to be localized and constitutes the basic economic unit. The authority of the household unit is vested in the father, who controls both the economic and ceremonial functions of the family and demands unquestioning obedience from his offspring.

Inheritance. Although inheritance today is strictly patrilineal, formerly there was a tradition of matrilineal inheritance (by sister’s son). A younger brother is first in line to inherit all collective property, followed by the eldest son. On the other hand, private property goes first to the eldest son (who must provide for his siblings), then the younger brother. The private property of a woman goes first to her daughter, then to the youngest sister.

Socialization. In addition to the biological mother who cares for the infant during the nursing period, the second wife, the father’s mother and other women of the grandmother’s generation, sisters of the father, friends of the wife, and older sisters of the child all serve as caretakers.