Dogon Tellem Figure Mali
Dogon art is not confined to a singular, fixed style, as discussions often portray it. Its age spans from as early as the 12th century to the present, encompassing various sub-styles within the identifiable core of Dogon art. The Dogon people engage in stylistic exchanges with neighboring groups, resulting in intriguing hybridism within these sub-styles. This sculpture serves as an example of how neighboring influences can impact the well-defined core of Dogon sculpture. To the west of the Dogon heartland, interactions with the Bamana people of Mali contribute to certain sculptural attributes, influenced by the Mande-speaking Bamana. These attributes include a squared body, keel-shaped head, and 'U'-shaped ears, resembling the work of a Bamana blacksmith. If genuinely a Dogon figure, it may represent an ancestor linked to an individual, family, village, or region. As an ancestor figure, it symbolizes either a familial ancestor or one of the original eight Nommo, who descended to earth, played a role in creation, and continue to be invested in the affairs of humanity.
Approximate Age: Early 20th Century