Dogon mask slideshow


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This is a presentation that contains information about the indigenous peoples of Central Mali called the Dogon. It contains examples of Dogon masks and cultural information about the design of African Masks. The masks of Africa are one of the art forms that makes the different regions distinct and this slideshow demonstrates the work of

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Dogon mask slideshow

  1. 1.  1  AFRICAN MASKSAFRICAN MASKSBy Jeremy Smith & adapted from info from these sites: , , , , ,
  3. 3. Brief Information about theBrief Information about the DogonDogon from  Dogon, ethnic group of the central plateau region of Mali that spreads across the border into Burkina Faso. There is some doubt as to the correct classification of the many dialects of the Dogon language; the language has been placed in the Mande, Gur, and other branches of the Niger-Congo language family, but its relationship to other languages of the family, if any, is uncertain. The Dogon number about 600,000, and the majority of them live in the rocky hills, mountains, and plateaus of the Bandiagara Escarpment. They are mainly an agricultural people; their few craftsmen, largely metalworkers and leatherworkers, form distinct castes. They have no centralized system of government but live in villages composed of patrilineages and extended families whose head is the senior male descendant of the common ancestor. Polygyny is practiced but reportedly has a low incidence.  Each large district has a hogon, or spiritual leader, and there is a supreme hogon for the whole country. In his dress and behaviour the hogon symbolizes the Dogon myth of creation, to which the Dogon relate much of their social organization and culture. Their metaphysical system—which categorizes physical objects, personifies good and evil, and defines the spiritual principles of the Dogon personality—is more abstract than that of most other African peoples. Dogon religious life is heightened every 60 years by a ceremony called the sigui, which occurs when the star Sirius appears between two mountain peaks. Before the ceremony, young men go into seclusion for three months, during which they talk in a secret language. The general ceremony rests on the belief that some 3,000 years ago amphibious beings from Sirius visited the Dogon. Fewer than half the Dogon are Muslim, and fewer still are Christian. Most practice traditional religion.
  4. 4. History of the DogonHistory of the Dogon The Dogon are one the most interesting ethnic group of Mali. They live on the cliffs of Bandiagara, a zone of difficult access. It has reduced the influence of Islam, and it has helped to preserve intact the Dogon culture. The cliffs of Bandiagara were firstly inhabited by the Pygmy, that found in the numerous caves of the walls, the perfect environement to defend themselves against the attacks of their enemies. Then the Tellem took the place, and used the houses that the Pygmy had made into the caves, to store the grain. Dogon peoples arrived to the cliffs of Bandiagara running away from the Mossi kingdom of Yatenga in the XIV century, and used the caves as graves. The Dogon inherited from the Tellem "art" rectilineal designs. All the objects used in rituals were made by blacksmiths, that worked with wood the same way he did with metal. The result is a lineal composition, in which harmony is more important than details.
  5. 5. Common Purposes for Mask-wearingCommon Purposes for Mask-wearing and makingand making  A mask is an article normally worn on the face, typically for protection, concealment, performance, or amusement. Masks have been used since antiquity for both ceremonial and practical purposes. They are usually worn on the face, although they may also be positioned for effect elsewhere on the wearer's body, so in parts of Australia giant totem masks cover the body, whilst Inuit women use finger masks during storytelling and dancing.[1]
  6. 6. 1. Watching this slideshow and developing a little background on the culture of the Dogon, an indigenous group from West Mali, Africa. 2. Develop some familiarity with Dogon culture, beliefs and their art. 3. Learn about customs and rituals. 4. Create a mask from corrugated card board that would seem similar to Dogon style (but it will reflect your own sense of individuality) What we are doing to extend our learning:
  7. 7. Masks from other world culturesMasks from other world cultures Various Balinese topengs (dance masks). A Beijing Opera Mask
  8. 8. Early MasksEarly Masks Neolithic stone mask Fang mask
  9. 9. A variety of masksA variety of masks Aztec mask of Xiuhtecuhtli, c. 1500, of Mixtec-Aztec provenance Leather mask hand made by J. C. V elasquez
  10. 10. African MasksAfrican Masks
  11. 11. More Masks from the African DiasporaMore Masks from the African Diaspora
  12. 12. West African MasksWest African Masks
  14. 14. AFRICAN MASKSAFRICAN MASKS  There are a wide variety of masks used in Africa. In West Africa, masks are used in masquerades that form part of religious ceremonies enacted to communicate with spirits and ancestors.  Many African masks represent animals. Some African tribes believe that the animal masks can help them communicate with the spirits who live in forests or open savannas  Ritual ceremonies generally depict deities, spirits of ancestors, mythological beings, good and or evil, the dead, animal spirits, and other beings believed to have power over humanity.  Masks of human ancestors or totem ancestors (beings or animals to which a clan or family traces its ancestry) are often objects of family pride; when they are regarded as the dwelling of the spirit they represent, the masks may be honored with ceremonies and gifts.
  15. 15. Mask HistoryMask History  In Africa masks can be traced back to well past Paleolithic times. These art objects were, and are still made of various materials, included are leather, metal, fabric and various types of wood.  During celebrations, initiations, crop harvesting, war preparation, peace and trouble times, African masks are worn by a chosen or initiated dancer.  It can be worn in three different ways: vertically covering the face: as helmets, encasing the entire head, and as crest, resting upon the head, which was commonly covered by material as part of the disguise.  African masks often represent a spirit and it is strongly believed that the spirit of the ancestors possesses the wearer.
  16. 16. KANGA MASKKANGA MASK The face has a triangular structure. The cross-of-Lorraine superstructure type represents actually the outstretched wings of a mythical bird, the komondo, and reports to the creation myth. The triangular shape of the face is the upper jaw of the bird, and the conical form below it is the tongue. According to certain myths, the superstructure is the God's hand. The two small figures on the top represent the first human couple to which the Dogon traced their origin. The higher part of the cross symbolizes the supernatural world, and the lower part symbolizes the society world. The union between both worlds is the line that joins the higher and the lower part of the cross. In ritual ceremonies, the carrier of the mask dances, pointing out the cross towards the ground, to connect earth and heaven. In funeral ceremonies, members of the Awa society wore these masks when dancing on the roof of dead's house in order to lead his soul (nyama) to its resting place and, at the same time, to defend the survivors from the harm a wandering soul might inflict upon them. After the ceremony, they considered the deceased man as an ancestor (from Ladislas Segy's "Masks of West Africa" ). The masks are also worn to protect hunters against the revenge of the animal he has killed.
  17. 17. The Elements of Style in an African MaskThe Elements of Style in an African Mask ContinuedContinued  The simplification and abstraction of visual elements in the art of the African Mask emphasize its expressive power.
  18. 18. The Elements of Style in an African MaskThe Elements of Style in an African Mask  There are two main forces that influence the style of an African tribal mask:  1. The traditional style that is dictated by the social and religious     beliefs of the community.  2. The individual vision of the carver.African tribal artists do not try to create a perfect representation of their subject. Although some realistic portraits are made, others celebrate more abstract qualities like nobility, beauty, courage, mischief and humour. They create an idealised version, emphasising those elements that they consider most important.
  19. 19. Other stylesOther styles Emma Anyara (European mask), Dogon, Mali
  20. 20. The Role of the African Tribal ArtistThe Role of the African Tribal Artist  The artist holds a respected position in African tribal society. It is his job to provide the various masks and sculptures for use in ritual ceremonies.  His work is valued for its spiritual, rather than its aesthetic qualities. Art without a 'spiritual dimension', in the broadest sense of the term, never transcends the level of mere craftsmanship and is unable to communicate those elevated emotions that are born from a deeper mystical inspiration.
  21. 21. The Influence of African ArtThe Influence of African Art  When artists and collectors in the West first took an interest in African Art, they did not appreciate its social or spiritual function. African art was simply viewed as a naive genre with a strong visual impact.  At the dawn of the 20th century, European artists were looking for new forms of expression that challenged, rather than simply illustrated, their rapidly changing world of ideas and technology. The traditional techniques of realism and perspective seemed overworked and predictable.  Their solution was to draw on images from other cultures and fuse them with European influences to refresh the tired traditions of Western art. The new perspectives that these cultures offered opened many doors of development which led to the cross-polination of ideas and styles that constitute our art world today.  The expressive power of African art was fundamental to this revolution and to the development of the first modernist styles: Cubism, Fauvism and Expressionism. 
  22. 22. The Elements of Art found in African MasksThe Elements of Art found in African Masks •COMPOSITION - Formal symmetrical arrangements of line, shape and form in figures and masks evoke integrity and dignity. •TEXTURE - Skilled craftsmanship, fine detail and quality of finish are of great importance to the African tribal artist. Highly polished surfaces which represent a youthful healthy skin reflect the idea of beauty and virtue, while rough dirty surfaces suggest fear and evil. Many African carvings portray the idealized human figure in its prime, brimming with health, strength, and celebrating fertility or virility. •SHAPE - African masks take on many forms. They can be oval, circular, rectangular, elongated, heart-shaped, animal or human, or any combination of these.
  23. 23. Culture of the DogonCulture of the Dogon An example of a Dogon dwelling called a Togu na, The Dogon culture exists a meeting place relative to city hall and central to the life force and cosmology of the community. All manner of business and social issues are discussed here. Rites of passage are performed here. Teaching, work and game playing are happening in this space as well. The "Togu Na" or House of Words is also known as the House of the Mother, although women were not allowed to enter its walls. A related a similar concept, the "Kodzidan" or House of Stories, is also a discourse model for creating community environments which include women and children.
  24. 24. Dogon Masks: Satimbe motifDogon Masks: Satimbe motif  This complex mask form represents a 'yasigine,' a specific type of Dogon woman. Among the Dogon of Mali, West Africa, the name 'Satimbe' means "sister on the head." The image of a woman on these masks represents the few female members of the 'Awa Society,' which is responsible for all masquerades performed.  It is believed these legendary women of origin stories first discovered mask-making in primordial times, before it became an exclusively male privilege. In classic style, this Satimbe shows a full-breasted woman atop a simplified, slotted face mask of primordial form. It has been suggested these masks also allude to the nurturing role expected of all Dogon women.
  25. 25. Rituals etcRituals etc ˜ Two Dogon people perform a divination ritual using the prints left in the sand by a jackal. ˜ An estimated 19 percent of Mali's population follows traditional religious practices.
  26. 26. Antelope motifs/other infoAntelope motifs/other info  The Strong Antelope  mask, Walu Dogon peoples, Mali Wood, pigment    ore/sahel/sahel_music_lo.html
  27. 27. 1. Watching this slideshow and developing a little background on the culture of the Dogon, an indigenous group from West Mali, Africa. 2. Develop some familiarity with Dogon culture, beliefs and their art. 3. Learn about customs and rituals. 4. Create a mask from corrugated card board that would seem similar to Dogon style (but it will reflect your own sense of individuality) 5. I will play the PBS music and show a video of the integration of the mask in Dogon ceremonies from the BBC. What we are doing to extend our learning:
  28. 28. THE ENDTHE END