Dogon Rain Maker Figures
Origin: Sangha, Mali
Approx Age: Early-mid 20th Century
Dimensions cm: 27 + 26 tall, small pieces all 10 tall Approximately
Ref. Number: 1439
A wonderful and rare set of Dogon rain maker figures, singular pieces are found in most Dogon households, but this set would have been owned by the Binu priest or a Shaman. The two taller figures are from an altar and the smaller figures are thrown after consulting the ancestors for rain and then the two larger figures were libated as part of the ritual.
Provenance: Collected in situ from Sangha Ogol Djo in 1970. Ex Lampevelden collection, Netherlands.
Over time, the Dogon moved north along the escarpment, arriving in the Sangha / Sanga region in the 15th century. Other oral histories place the origin of the Dogon to the west beyond the river Niger, or tell of the Dogon coming from the east. It is likely that the Dogon of today combines several groups of diverse origin who migrated to escape Islamisation.
Dogon art is primarily sculpture. Dogon art revolves around religious values, ideals, and freedoms (Laude, 19). Dogon sculptures are not made to be seen publicly, and are commonly hidden from the public eye within the houses of families, sanctuaries, or kept with the Hogon (Laude, 20). The importance of secrecy is due to the symbolic meaning behind the pieces and the process by which they are made.
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