back bounded-next cafe calendar-large calendar cart close coat-check collapse donate download elevators expand explore filter grid-view hamburger heart hours join link list-view location mail more next nursing-room phone print programs ramp restrooms right-arrow search share shop thumbs-down thumbs-up tickets up toilet heart-filled zoom Skip to Content

Male Figure (One of a Pair)

African Art

Search and Share Tools

Male Figure (One of a Pair)

Artwork Details


Dogon Artist, Mali


late nineteenth–early twentieth century



Accession #



Please contact the Museum for more information.


Currently Not on View


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.


Fred and Rita Richman Collection