African Tribal Art: Dogon People, Mali: An elaborately decorated ritual vessel, carved wooden hollowed ovoid vessel with a convex lid, Early/Mid 20th century.
The large equestrian figure surmounting this warmly toned and finely patinated vessel is flanked by four seated figures: a male and female on each side. The body and lid of the vessel are decorated with incised geometric designs, leading down to a raised base where ten Nomo figures sit, supporting the vessel with their heads. The Nomo are held aloft by two horses which stand on a flat rectangular base. Iron cleats show tribal repairs along several age-cracks in the body of the vessel.
The equestrian image expresses status and prestige. The Nomo figures evoke the original Dogon ancestors. Ceremonial/ritual bowls with equestrian figures are utilized in harvest celebrations.
Comparable (but simpler) ritual vessels are illustrated in African and Oceanic Art, Sotheby's, New York, Friday November 19th, 1999, Lot 17, and in African Art In American Collections, Robbins and Nooter, Page 63, plate 29.
Approx. 30.25H x 10W x 10D (inches).
Private Collection, Massachusetts, Private Collection, New York
Good condition, showing age, use, and tribal repairs. Some insect damage at the base, extending to the tail and hind legs of one horse, as can be seen in the photos.
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