Dogon Odyogoro Goiter Mask

The dancer who wears this mask hacks awkwardly at the air with an adze, and the performance draws laughter from the crowd.
Tribe: Dogon

Origin: Mali

Approx Age: 1940-1950

Materials: Wood, libation encrustation

Dimensions cm: 46 x 20

Ref. Number: 1438


A stunning Dogon Odyogoro Goiter mask from an ex-Dutch collection, this was collected in 1970 from a village in Mory at the Bandiagara plateau. The Goitre mask Odyogoro is a mask wearing a carved headpiece with a huge protuberance under its chin. This mask has an almost domed crest at the top of the head and in line with its square-shaped ears deep square cavities separated by the nose and its mouth hangs. Under the face appears the goitre which is shaped like big balls, an amazing carving of expression.

Provenance: Collected in situ 1970. Ex Lampevelden collection, Netherlands


Some masks are associated with a story pertaining to the character portrayed. For example, the fox represents disorder and disobedience within the world and is considered the enemy of water, fertility, and civilisation. A mythical fox named Yurugu is said to have been condemned by Amma to search the world for a lost twin (Griaule 2005). Dancers wearing rabbit masks may hide from the “hunter,” while the Walu antelope chases girls and small boys in the audience (Van Beek 1998). In addition to animals and spirits, masks also represent outsiders, often depicting them as aliens who exhibit strange or humorous behaviour. Wearing a mask covered by cowry shells, the Fulani woman hops around trying to collect animal dung, while the Mossi herdsman repeatedly falls off his horse (Van Beek 1991a). Also drawing laughter from the crowd, the Odyogoro mask has two under-chin bulges representing goitres, a common Dogon ailment caused by a lack of iodine in the diet, during the dance the dancer hacks awkwardly in the air with an adze..

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