Dogon Horse Rider Marionette Figure Mali
Dogon art is not a single fixed style as has been often characterized in discussions of their sculpture, for the age of Dogon art extends to the past as early as the 12th century and continues to be created in the present with a number of sub-styles measured against the core of an identifiable Dogon art and style. The Dogon interchange stylistic elements with neighboring groups producing an interesting hybridism in some of their interesting sub-styles. This sculpture reflects an influence that neighboring groups can have on the well defined core of Dogon sculpture. West of the Dogon heartland the Dogon interact with the other major art producing people of Mali, the Bamana (Bambara). These figures show the influence of the Mande speaking Bamana (the Dogon are Gur language speakers ‚Äì different language, different cultures!) in sculptural attributes well defined. These include a squared body, keel shaped head and ‚ÄòU'- shaped ears. A Bamana blacksmith could easily have carved the figure. If truly a Dogon figure it represented an ancestor identified to an individual, family, village or region. If an ancestor it represents either a familial ancestor or one of the original eight Nommo who descended to earth to create us, the world and continue to be interested in the affairs of man.