Dogon Figure, Bombu-Toro style, 19th or Earlier, Mali
Height: 28 inches (71.1 cm)
Ex Merton D. Simpson, New York
Ex Julius Carlebach, New York, before 1964
Ex collection William and Beatrice Riese (Wingdale/New York)
Estate of Beatrice Riese, 2004
Ex private collection, Belgium
Sculptor's Hand, Viewer's Eye: African and Native American Art from the Beatrice Riese Collection. The Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana. 11 September - 29 November 1998
Masterworks of African Art from the Collection of Beatrice Riese. Pieces selected by William Siegmann. Brooklyn Museum of Art. 24 March - 10 September 2000
Douglas E. Bradley, Bill Michael Wade, Snite Museum of Art. Sculptor's Hand, Viewer's Eye: African and Native American Art from the Beatrice Riese Collection. Notre Dame: Snite Museum of Art, 1998. p. 12-13
This large hermaphroditic sculpture possibly represents a priest figure, Hogon, mid trance during a ceremonial music performance. In order to communicate with the ancestors the priest musician would enter a...
This large hermaphroditic sculpture possibly represents a priest figure, Hogon, mid trance during a ceremonial music performance. In order to communicate with the ancestors the priest musician would enter a trancelike state while playing his instrument, the kora. He represents the conduit between the spiritual and mortal realms. In this sculpture the figure is seated on a stool formed by two parallel discs representing heaven and earth which are joined by four small standing figures.
The flowing arms and legs of the figure contrast with the elongated geometric torso. A long cylindrical neck supports a sensitively carved head. The tenderness and gaze of the figure's facial expression project a mood of transcendence.
The corpus of large scale Dogon seated figures is small. Related examples are in The Menil Collection, Houston, Texas; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, New York (accession number 1978.412.319); a private collection, California (formerly in the Ziff Family Collection); the James and Laura Ross Collection, New York, New York; one formerly in the collection of Marc and Denyse Ginzberg, New York, New York; a private Spanish collection (formerly in the Jaccques Kerchache collection, Paris).
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