Dogon Dyodyomini Mask
Approx Age: Early 20th Century
Dimensions cm: 50 tall x 73 long x 18 wide
Ref. Number: 1463
A superb and very rare Dogon Dyodyomini mask from the early 20th century, collected during WW2, now passed down. Very primitive carving like most Dogon masks, long protruding beak representing the hornbill with a surmounted figure male behind it, triangular shaped eyes to the front of the mask. Over most of the mask seems to be very old libation remains, please see detailed photos where I have tried to capture this.
In Africa, the hornbill bird has a variety of meanings. Some places the hornbill is considered a symbol of fertility with the long beak symbolizing the male sexual organ. In West Africa, a hornbill also symbolizes elements favourable to hunting and the appropriate masks are worn for the occasion.
Bird masks, such as this fine piece from Mali, are known as Dyodyomini. They are thought to evoke the captured bird in Dogon mythology. Among the Dogon people of Mali, large birds are identified with certain traits that the Dogon admire or that birds symbolically represent the Dogon way of life as agriculturists.
Masks such as this were worn by men who as members of the ‘Awa Society’ would dance on the roof of a house of a recently deceased relative in order to lead its soul to its resting place. The Dogon had over 78 different types of mask representing birds, animals, mammals and reptiles.
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