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Dogon Bronze Sculpture of a Man and Woman - PF.5265
Origin: Southeastern Mali/Burkina Faso
Circa: 14 th Century AD to 16 th Century AD
Dimensions: 4.875" (12.4cm) high x 2.375" (6.0cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Dogon
Medium: Bronze

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Depictions of ancestral couples is fundamental to Dogon art. Primordial couples, usually of wood and most often shown seated, date very early and attest to a long tradition of ancestral worship linked to fertility cults. Though this bronze pair relates to this general category, its uniqueness cannot be overstated. The man and woman are joined by three thick bracelets, their outer arms flush against their bodies. Their stomachs and backs are decorated in a checkerbaord pattern, indicating riual scarification. Their torsos are elongated, legs short and slightly apart for balance. Around the female's neck is a thick ornamented collar, while over the shoulders of the male are lines suggesting straps. Each wears a tight fitting cap, in slightly varying styles, pointed at the forehead and reaching to the nape of the neck. The male's cap flows nicely into his striated beard. Their eyes are encircled by applique-like short lines, giving the impression of masks. Bulbous lips may indicate an intentional deformation, or an object associated with a particular cult. This couple reaches deep into the past of art, myth and magic; being not only an essential part of Mali's culture, but also serving as an elegant symbol of life. - (PF.5265)

 

 

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