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44. Dogon Maternity, Mali, wood, 19 1/2" (49.5 cm)
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44. Dogon Maternity, Mali, wood, 19 1/2" (49.5 cm)
  This magnificent maternity figure dates from the 17th or 18th century, and is from a known workshop in the Tintam village of the Dogon country on the Bandiagara plateau in Mali, hence its identification as a Tintam statue. Despite its abstraction, the gesture and weight of the child resting in the mother’s arm is beautifully and lovingly observed by the carver. There is a complex and unusual mystery to this statue. Note on either cheek a triangular scarification pattern. Known on only about 10 Dogon statues, this pattern has otherwise only been seen on the carvings of a particular sculptor from the N’duleri plain, another region in Dogon country, called the “master of the clover-leaf.” Why then this scarification on a Tintam statue? Was the woman represented originally from the N’duleri region? Did it serve to consacrate a marriage between the two areas? In any case this statue bears eloquent testimony to the pride and grace of motherhood, the importance of which cannot be overstated relative to most African cultures.

Anonymous Collection

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