Dogon Kanaga Mask

  • Product Code: DK1-7
  • Dimensions: 8" x 48" x 22"
  • Availability: In Stock
  • USD $


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The 250,000 Dogon people live on a large plateau inland in west Africa. According to Dogon oral tradition, the tribe settled in this area between the 14th and 15th centuries, after escaping from the Mande kingdom. Dogon social and religious organizations are closely interlinked. Out of these organizations arose four principal cults, which accounts for the richness and diversity of Dogon culture. The Dogon have over seventy anthropomorphic and zoomorphic mask types. One of the most widespread is the Kanaga, which 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. A characteristic feature of this type is the form of a dual cross with short bars extending upwards toward the sky or downwards to the earth from the ends of the crossbars. The black squares over a white ground evokes the black and white feathers of the Kommolo Tebu bird. Also carefully painted is the helmet portion, into which a rectangular face with large eyeholes has been carved, leaving the thin, vertical ridge of the nose standing. One dance is reserved for Kanaga masqueraders only. It is said that the dancers movements evoke the gestures made by Amma, god of creation, as he was creating the universe. (Measurements include stand) Ref.: Bacquardt Ref.: Hahner-Herzog/Kecskesi/Vajda

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