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Gothamgallery Fine African Art - Mali Dogon Tellem Tribal Fetish Figure For Sale
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Fine Old African Mali Dogon Tellem Sculpture
Height: 53 Centimeters
Early 20th Century
Fair - Good
Highly stylized sculpture typical Dogon features weathered surface varied dark patina
US East Coast - Estimated $15.00
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Documentation of Authenticity / Any Available Provenance Will Be Included With This Piece
CONDITION Wood deterioration all over, age cracks, chips, worn areas, overall condition fair to good. Thank you and please view my other items.
BACKGROUND The Dogon people live on a large plateau, with most of the villages situated on cliffs to the north and the east. According to Dogon oral tradition, the tribe settled in this area between the i4th and the 15th centuries, after escaping from the Mande kingdom. Legend has it that a snake led them to the cliff at the southern end of the plateau, where they overwhelmed and usurped the local Tellem and Niongom populations. The Dogon livelihood is based on agriculture concentrated in fields at the edge of the cliff, where water is scarce, but enough for occasional irrigation. Dogon social and religious organizations are closely interlinked and out of these arose four principal cults which accounts for the richness and diversity of Dogon culture. Dogon art is extremely versatile, although common stylistic characteristics - such as a tendency towards stylization - are apparent on the statues. Dogon figures are predominantly associated with the ancestor cult. They are carved either for personal or family use or, if they commemorate the foundation of a community, are worshipped by the village. The artistic influence of Niongom and Tellem traditions on Dogon statues is apparent. The Niongom people occupied the southern part of the cliff during the ioth century and carved elongated statues with arrow-shaped noses, lozenge eyes and arms hanging at their sides. The form of Niongom carvings also characteristically followed the shape of the wood. It is thought they were placed on altars which, when later abandoned, were left untouched. With the passing of time, the figures gained a weathered patina. The Tellem people settled at the same time and in the same area as the Niongom, and carved abstract figures in a symmetrical frontal pose with their arms raised. This gesture, thought to represent a plea for rain, is presumably an important part of Tellem ceremonies.
Painter Fred Uhlman words - Most of the artists I admired, Picasso, Modigliani, Deraini, to mention only a few, had collected African art and had been profoundly
influenced by it. Shortly afterwards I bought the Baule Fetish and the Baule bobbin which are still two of the finest pieces in my collection. It is easy to see
why I bought them and why from that moment I have never stopped collecting. The head of the bobbin or heddle - pulley which is after all only a functional
object for the purpose of weaving seemed to me then and today as beautiful as a Greek goddess. The fetish moved me as deeply as the bobbin by its silent
tragic dignity and its air of profound meditation.
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Gothamgallery Fine African Art - Mali Dogon Tellem Tribal Fetish Figure: $66