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Traditional art of Mali
A wooden figure of a female displaying weathering and patina through age and use. The figure has a domed shaped head with small features to the face, with small round eyes, short nose, and small smiling mouth. The thick neck rests on rounded shoulders, below which are prominent breasts. The body is sturdy and becomes thicker to the stomach area. The arms are by the side of the body with the hands clasping over the pubic region. The legs are wide apart and bent at the knees. Mounted on a custom made stand.
The Dogon produce a number of statues that are linked to spirits, which are primarily concerned with the fertility of both humans and the land. A number of figures can be recognised, such as male and female in varying poses, couples, hermaphrodites and occasionally animals. The area of Mali that the Dogon live in has poor soil and very little rainfall, and so the fertility of their food supply and the survival of the people is of the utmost importance to them. One of the benefits of the dry climate is that wooden figures, such as this one, are preserved for much longer than they are in other parts of Africa, thus presenting us with artistic and spiritual pieces that are far older than in other areas; some have been dated as far back as the 15th century.
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