Dogon Janus Standing Figure Custom Stand Miniature 11.5 Inch Mali
The oral tradition of the Dogon tells us that they originated on the west bank of the Niger River about 1000 years ago. They moved west at some point, into parts of what is now Mossi territory in Burkina Faso, but chose to return east due to pressure to assimilate into the Mossi Kingdom. This time, around 1500, they found a place almost unreachable by invaders on horseback--the arid but imposing Bandiagara Cliffs. Here most of the Dogon have remained to this day, as one of Africa's most spiritual people.
Dogon family dwellings, as well as their shrines and granaries, are constructed in a uniquely haunting way, leaving even the most jaded observer spellbound, in what can only be described as a "magic kingdom." The Dogon have taken the time-honored worship of ancestors to new heights, and their huge pantheon of astounding and colorful carvings reflect this. It is possible today for tourists and scholars to arrange masked dances for public view, but these dances are for entertainment only, and only a few of the art-forms are actually revealed. Ritually meaningful ceremonies are not shared with the public. The Dogon have even made their funerals a unique spectacle. Accompanied by the chanting of Binu priests, the body is reportedly lowered over the jagged cliffs into its final resting place, as dancers venerate the life of the deceased. Quite a way to enter the heavens! The important PBS series "Africa" did a beautiful segment on the Dogon and Fulani.
The Dogon people are an ethnic group who live in the central plateau region of Mali in West Africa. Dogon art is known for its distinctive style and is often characterized by intricate geometric patterns, stylized human and animal figures, and bold colors.
The Dogon people of Mali are among the oldest surviving African cultures despite the fact that throughout their existence more powerful neighbors have threatened them. For protection, until about 300 years ago the Dogon built their villages near or in the famous Bandiagara cliffs. They have thus been nicknamed the Hill, Cliff and Mountain people. Dogon art manifests in masks, architectural objects, statues and vessels.
The Dogon realize that they are not the first inhabitants of the land that they now occupy. Their myths, legends, traditions and art retain the memories of their predecessors.
Approximate Age: Early 19th Century
Made In: Africa