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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Dogon Sculptures : African Art / Dogon Terracotta Ritual Sculpture
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African Art / Dogon Terracotta Ritual Sculpture - PF.3019
Origin: Southeastern Mali/Burkina Faso
Circa: 12 th Century AD to 15 th Century AD
Dimensions: 6.75" (17.1cm) high x 6" (15.2cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Sacrificial Material


Location: United States
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Description
This fascinating sculpture of a human head on a sealed jar stimulates one's curiosity, evoking endless questions. The sculpture shows a realistic human head with closed eyes placed on a sealed jar. Used in rituals, this curious fetish sculpture was found in a shrine of a witch doctor. During these riuals, this object was showered with animals' blood, along with ritualistic desires and wishes of the performer. The sculpture feels unusually heavy, leading to a speculation that the sealed jar may contain some esoteric material. Perhaps the jar contains material of ritual significance that is not revealed to the human eyes. The sculpted head perhaps represents an ancestor's spirit which would contribute its power to the ceremony. The Dogon of Mali have maintained their tribal culture in the rocky and inhospitable fortress above the Bandiagara escarpment. Perhaps the ritual using ancestral spirit and blood, the source of life, was to bring prosperity and life to the harsh living environment. This mysterious and yet earthy work of art is sculpted beatuifully and honestly, embodying the spiritual yearning and power of the ritual performer. What kind of magic and power did this sculpture induce? In what kind of rutual setting was it place? The mysterious sculpture seems to hold answers to our questions in an esoteric silence. - (PF.3019)

 

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