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Male Figure (One of a Pair)

African Art

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Male Figure (One of a Pair)

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Dogon Artist, Mali

Date

late nineteenth–early twentieth century

Medium

Wood

Accession #

2004.144

Dimensions

Overall: 17 3/4 inches

Location

On View - Stent Family Wing, Skyway, Gallery 410

Description

Male and female pairs such as these two sculptures are placed on altars to secure ancestral blessings. The paired figures also recall the primordial couple described in Dogon oral histories and creation myths from whom all subsequent generations descended. The rather severe, abstract forms of these two figures echo one another. The proportions of their torsos and arms are elongated and their legs are compressed. The female figure balances a vessel on her head, a reminder of women’s quotidian duties as bearers of water, a precious resource for communities living at the edge of the Sahara Desert.

Credit

Fred and Rita Richman Collection