Dogon (Dogo, Habbé, Kado, Kibisi, Tombo),
Satimbe mask. The Dogon people inhabit the large austere Bandiagara plateau, with most of the villages situated on cliffs to the north and the east. The Dogon are among African cultures that have remained closest to their ancestral traditions. On their small fields they cultivate their staple diet, millet. The millet is stored in high quadrangular granaries around which they build their houses. Dogon art is extremely versatile, although common stylistic characteristics such as a tendency towards stylization are apparent on the masks and figures. The functions of Dogon masks all based upon an extensive mythology. One of the fundamental tenets is that both human and animals have their nyama (soul substance) which returns after death into a mask. The satimbe mask presented here is surmounted by a standing female figure with outstretched arms. This figure represents Yasigine, the only woman admitted to the Awa male society. The masks were used in burial ceremonies to drive away the souls of the deceased who might harm the living and also at the end of mourning and at various other rituals.
Size: H. 39˝, W. 18, D. 7˝