Lot: 49

Very early statue

Mali, Dogon - Tellem

Provenance Size Starting price / estimated price
Alexandro (Sandro) Volta, Milan, Italy (presumably)
Carlo Monzino, Castagnola, Italy (1970s)
Lance Entwistle, London, Great Britain (2010)
Alfred W. Angst, Aeugstertal-Zurich, Switzerland
H: 17.9 inch 8000 EUR / 15000 EUR

wood, thick encrusted sacrificial patina (sacrificial blood and millet pulp), base This powerful figure is an iconic image of the Tellem peoples, who settled in the Bandiagara Cliffs in Mali long before the Dogon arrived. The gesture with the raised arms had been said to indicate the communication between the earth and heaven, specifically a prayer for rain, an essential commodity in the arid environment in which the Tellem people lived. Sacrifices to elicit rain are made on altars called "andugo", which are dedicated to the spiritual being "nommo", who is present in all water, including rain. After making a sacrifice over the altar and building a fire whose thick smoke is said to attract dark rain clouds, the officient holds an iron hook, called "gobo", in his outstretched arm and brings it back over his head, making a hooking gesture to pull the rain-bearing clouds closer.

Entwistle, London, 14 June 2010
Ezra, Kate, Art of the Dogon, New York 1988, p. 56