Arts of Africa
On View: African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
Masks may be used at funeral ceremonies to honor and commemorate the dead as they enter the ancestral realm. Dogon dancers perform with kanaga masks at dama ceremonies honoring the dead (see the video at left). Rotating their upper bodies from the hips and swinging the masks in wide circles, the dancers imitate Amma, the creator god, who brought all things to life. Their outstretched movements symbolically spread the force of life throughout the world.
Wood, leather, pigment, vegetable fiber
42 1/2 x 23 1/4 x 9 in. (108 x 59.1 x 22.9 cm) (show scale)
Gift of Allen C. Davis
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Dogon. Mask (Kanaga), 20th century. Wood, leather, pigment, vegetable fiber, 42 1/2 x 23 1/4 x 9 in. (108 x 59.1 x 22.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Allen C. Davis, 1995.171.11a-c. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1995.171.11a-c_SL1.jpg)
overall, 1995.171.11a-c_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Mask with a wooden superstructure in the form of a double barred cross with short vertical elements projecting from the tips of each horizontal bar. Center of face protrudes, while sides on lower portion of face cut away. White pigment on face and superstructure, blue pigment and leather squares on bars. Netted rope fiber attached to sides of facial mask. Condition: worn. Heavy encrustations of organic matter. Paint fragmentary. Surface abrasions throughout.
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