221110 - Old African Dogon Kanaga Mask - Mali.


Mali: Old African Dogon Kanaga Mask.

Height 40 cm.

During the Dama ceremony, the large Kanaga and Sirige masks precede the masks evoking the behavior of the animals of the region where the Dogons live and hunt: antelopes, lions, hyenas, zebus, birds and monkeys.In Dogon culture, the monkey represents wild, uncivilized, dangerous and antisocial behavior.The absolute opposite of what one should expect from a Dogon.Three types of monkey masks are used, identified only by their color, regardless of their shape.Dege is the black monkey, while the white monkey is known as Omono and the red monkey is called Ko.The background of the myth is not clearly known, but it has been written that the black monkeys, Dege, are the bandits of the bush.Black monkeys represent wickedness, gluttony and should not be imitated as they are the antithesis of the Dogon order.


The 400,000 Dogon live 180 miles south of Timbuktu on the cliffs of Bandiagara, which dominate the plains for over 150 miles. They speak approximately 120 dialects, many of which are not mutually comprehensible. At first hunters, now on their small fields they cultivate millet, sorghum, wheat, and onion. The millet is stored in high quadrangular granaries around which they build their houses. Because of the difficult approach to these regions and the aridity of the climate, the Dogon have been isolated and hence were able to conserve their ancient religious habits and ways of making the necessary implements, their carvings.