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Dogon Kanaga Mask

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Item 521
7.00 LBS
Maximum Purchase:
1 unit(s)

Product Description

The Dogon people are one of the most celebrated and fascinating tribes in all of Africa. They live in villages that are situated on cliffs in Northern and Eastern Mali. Dogon ladders, used to gain entrance into cliff side dwellings, statuettes of Dogon Primordial ancestor couples and Dogon granary doors are held in high acclaim throughout the world. The Dogon do however create a wide variety of masks; over seventy are known though few are privy to their actual ritualistic purpose. This knowledge is held by tribal elders and passed on to the village members during highly engaging ceremonies. One of the most famous masks known to outsiders is the towering wooden 'Kanaga' mask which has become a symbol of the Mali republic. The Kanaga consists of a face mask with a long center post jutting up from the top. The post is crossed left to right by two short bars. The cross bars each have two smaller wooden slats referred to as ‘arms’. The lower bar has two arms pointing downwards (symbolizing to some man and earth) while the top bar features two arms pointing upwards (symbolizing the sky and heavens). Dogon dancers perform with kanaga masks at 'Dama' ceremonies which honor and commemorate the dead. Lore has it that the mask represents a bird known as kommolo tebu. Its origin is traced back to a mythical hunter who, having killed one of these birds, fabricated the first kanaga mask in its likeness. When the Damas celebration takes place the entire village is involved. Not only do the dancers wear the Kanaga but ordinary citizens display the masks that have been in their families for years as a show of support and tribal pride. Our mask is a wonderful authentic selection with worn areas from usage but the black, creamy white and blue pigmnetation is still pronounce and the mask itself very sturdy. Enjoy!

Please click photo for enlargement!


Dimensions: 26 1/2 inches tall x 17 inches from its widest point x 3 1/2 inches deep.

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Product Videos

Dogon Mask Dance (02:36)
The Dogon Mask Dance at the village of Tireli, Dogon in Mali. Shot & Edited by Gozilah ©2012. More about Dogon culture and Rituals: yskjp.blog112.fc2.com/?tag=jdogon Photos : flickr.com/photos/gozilah/sets/72157628992762453/show/ The Dogon are an ancient tribe from Mali known for their elaborate ceremonial masks used for celebratory dances performed by the men of the tribe. Dogon masks are known throughout the world by anthropologists and art curators. They are among the most highly respected tribal art in the world, having influenced Western 20th-century artists such as Picasso, Braque and the Cubist movement. The masks serve to connect the Dogon people to the world of heaven where the afterworld exists, and Earth, which provides food, shelter and life. The Dogon are a patriarchal society and traditionally the Dogon masks are controlled and cared for by a group of male known as "Awa". Male dancers bring the mask to life in ancient ritualistic ceremonies such as the "Dama", a funerary celebration that honors and commemorates the dead as they enter the ancestral realm. Another is the Sigui, a ceremony of initiation and atonement and the Dogon's most culturally significant cerebration that takes place only one time every 60 years. For the Dogon, these ceremonies give access to the universal vital force and to the reincarnation of the departed. Their outstretched movements symbolically spread the force of life throughout the world. Dogon dance ceremonies can sometimes last for as long as three days and involve dozens of dancers representing figures from the animal world, male and female powers, and the afterworld. *My friend, Baile Saye, who is from the village of Tireli in Dogon, is a great travel operator based in Bamako. If you are interested in taking a trip to West Africa, especially to Dogon Country, I highly recommend him as your wingman. He speaks French and English. His E-mail: bailsaye2006@yahoo.fr His Facebook: facebook.com/profile.php?id=100003240921864
  • Dogon Mask Dance
    The Dogon Mask Dance at the village of Tireli, Dogon in Mali. ...

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