Dogon Kanaga Mask
Approx Age: 1950’s
Materials: Wood, fibre netting.
Dimensions cm: 108 x 62 x 20
Ref. Number: 0971
Dogon Kanaga mask with a pointed front face with pierced eyes and horns, the pierced vertical crest with the applied geometric arms pointing to the earth and the sky, with traces of pigment, fibre net webbing to the rear.
Provenance: Christie’s auction, Michael & Marlene Pennie collection, Karl Norton.
Like other Dogon masks, kanaga masks are worn at rituals called dama, whose goal is to transport the souls of deceased family members away from the village and to enhance the prestige of the deceased and his descendants by magnificent masked performances and generous displays of hospitality. In 1935, French anthropologist Marcel Griaule witnessed a dama ritual in which twenty-nine out of a total of seventy-four masks were of the kanaga type. These masks are characterized by a wooden superstructure in the form of a double-barred cross with short vertical elements projecting from the tips of each horizontal bar.
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