Dogon Cigogne Ostrich Mask

Collected from the village of Enndé, south edge of Bandiagara Plataux.

Tribe: Dogon

Origin: Enndé, Mali

Approx Age: Mid 20th Century

Materials: Wood and iron rings

Dimensions cm: 76 tall x 16 wide x 18 depth

Ref. Number: 1419


A Dogon Cigogne ostrich mask of a typical style yet, one of many different styles of this mask. Nicely carved with rings inserted either side of the wings. Collected from Enndé by a Dutch collector in the early 1970s.

Provenance: Ex-Lampvelden collection, Netherlands.


Masks represent the bush and its mysteries. During funerary rituals, they leave the bush and enter the village. They attract the soul of the deceased out of his house and towards sunset they return to the bush followed by it. Masks are not all equal in importance. Certain types (Kanaga, Satimbe, Sirige) are important from a religious point of view. They are surrounded by an aura of mystery. Their dances have a wild quality. They do not speak but emit noises. The Olubaru shouts to them in Sigi So (the secret language of the Sigui). Other mask types tend to interact with the public and their dances may even be entertaining. The following pages show masks that are easily identifiable (human and animal).

Masked dance performances are held on the occasion of funerary rituals (Dama & funerals). These rituals are governed by the Society of the Masks. This society gathers all circumcised men, young and old. Young boys become members after having been circumcised. Authority is established according to age. Many members sculpt their own mask.

Literature by Huib Blom… 

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