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Dogon Sculpture of a Seated Man and Dog - PF.6058
Origin: Mali
Circa: 16 th Century AD to 19 th Century AD
Dimensions: 5.75" (14.6cm) high
Collection: African
Style: Dogon
Medium: Bronze

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This gorgeous sculpture depicts and elongated man with thin, lanky limbs seated atop a turtle. He holds a leash connected to a dog, faithfully sitting at his side. The emphasis of the work is placed upon his head that is rendered with remarkable detail. He sports a swooping, planar beard that is a hallmark of the Dogon style. His nose and lips have been squeezed together while his protruding, lenticular eyes hover just below his hairline. Perhaps the most stunning feature of this amazing sculpture is his coiffure. His hair has been parted down the middle and gathered into two braids that define the outer contours of his hair. Various nubs of gathered hair project randomly from his otherwise smooth coiffure. His back has been adorned with decorative keloid scarification that was considered both beauty marks and signs of stature and rank within society. His bellybutton, as well as the eyes of the tortoise and the dog, echoes the balls in his hair. What is the symbolism of the animals that surround him? Perhaps the turtle symbolizes his regal nature, for turtles were often associated with royalty for their ability to inhabit both land and water much as the king was believed to move between this world and the next. Dogs have long been considered symbols of faith and fidelity and perhaps relate to the people over whom he rules. Surely this charming sculpture, crafted in such a valuable material, represents someone of great importance. Perhaps this work is an allegory of kingship. Just gazing upon this work, we are presented with the visage of a wise, confident elder. Surely this sculpture was one of his most prized treasures. - (PF.6058)

 

 

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