Dogon Hogon figure


African Dogon art

"African wooden statue of a naked hermaphrodite, with a bald head and a beard fan to the jaw line. The features of the face are small compared to the size of the head.

The body features female breasts and male genitals, with the hands resting on the thighs. The surface has a patina patina from long exposure to the elements.

Dogon sculptures are mainly ceremonial objects used on ancestral altars.

Sacrificial materials (millet paste, vegetable juice and oils, burnt herbs and animal blood) are sprinkled on the sculptures to induce the release of the nyama (life force).

Once covered with sacrificial materials, the statues tend to lose their original form, but the Dogon consider them to be enriched with religious intensity and ritual finality.

The Dogon believe that each individual has two sexes at birth. From the start, each human being had received two souls of different sex, or rather two principles corresponding to two people within each.

It is only during the circumcision ritual that the sex of an individual is fixed. "

On the attached photos, see the very particular architecture of the Dogon for the construction of their buildings. We also see the troglodyte habitats of the cliffs of Bandiagara in Mali.

We also see the sacrifice offered to the statuettes on an altar.

Read more :

  • The Dogon of Mali and Upper Volta / Die Dogon von Mali und Ober-Volta, Roy Christopher D.
  • Art of the Dogon: Selections from the Lester Wunderman Collection, Ezra Kate

Difficult to date, this piece is of high sculptural quality. It is good to know that the Dogon, settled in Mali following the Tellem civilization, both reused the statues abandoned by the latter, but were inspired by them for their own statuary. The Dogon corpus, whose sculptors are still active today, therefore has a centuries-old artistic corpus.

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Data sheet

Presumed dating
20th c.
45 cm
Ethnic group
Tribal art collection Belgium

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