Dogon are one of the few African ethnic groups known as the most ancient black civilizations. Isolated in the region of the cliffs of Biandraga, near to the big curvature of the lower Niger river, until a few decades ago, the population was pristine, because of the access to that zone, which has been difficult for centuries. Dogon’s art applies to every object, from the simple ones to those used for the most important social events. Very few African artistic works reveal that formal nudity and that severe appearance, contrasting with such wealth of meaning. In Dogon statues, the simply descriptive strokes are excluded. The head and torso, with their angular contours, are opposed to flat and curved surfaces; these ones, in particular, have traces of mild signs which evoke elements of the face and body.
Dogon Satimbe mask
Satimbe mask is used during the annual harvest festival (called Bulu), celebrated in all the villages before the rainy season. The mask is composed of two parts. The first element is the heavily stylized helmet below, with slots and holes that allow the wearer to see. The second element is the statue decked with textile elements, which embellish hairstyle and arms. The whole expresses an aesthetic stability that makes this picture a typical Dogon artwork.
Dogon ceremony Ko mask
One of main Dogon artworks’ feature is great boldness in the use of geometric shapes, independent of the various animals they are supposed to represent. Besides, there is a brilliant interplay of vertical and horizontal lines and shapes. As most of Dogon masks, also this one has large geometric eyes and stylized features. In addition, there is a small figure on the top, which embellish even more this beautiful artwork.