Dogon Figure Tomo-ka
The Dogon are best known for their religious traditions, their mask dances, wooden sculpture, and their architecture.
Origin: Bandiagara Mali
Approx Age: Mid 20th or earlier
Dimensions cm: 55 tall x 12 wide (not including stand)
Ref. Number: 1401
A Dogon figure Tomo-ka style, female in a sitting position on a stool with her hands dropped forward, typical Tomo-ka style. Very encrusted patina from libations, the Dogon made a mix of millet gruel and the blood of a sacrificed animal, mostly chickens.
Provenance: Ex-private Ivorian collector, this was collected in 1975
Sacrifice used to play a more pronounced role in Dogon society but is now on the decline: droughts and hardships in the 1980s have made sacrificial animals scarce, while Christianity provides an alternative supernatural power that doesn’t demand this cost. About half the Dogon villagers are now Christian and most others are Muslim, although beliefs in magic, evil, and traditional practices have not changed.
Dogon social relations emphasize harmony. Words assume enormous importance, and harsh words are dangerous, even lethal. The ultimate social transgression is to accuse someone falsely, and the only recourse is to ask forgiveness, let the accuser be at the victim’s mercy indefinitely.
Dogon society is organized according to parallel hierarchies, the most important being religion and age. Parallel to the Hogon’s religious power is that of lineages. Only men hold formal pubic power, which finds its greatest expression in patrilines. Women are considered mentally inferior and have little or no say in official matters.
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