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Mask (Kanaga)

Arts of Africa

Masks may be used at funeral ceremonies to honor and commemorate the dead as they enter the ancestral realm. Dogon dancers perform with kanaga masks at dama ceremonies honoring the dead (see the video at left). Rotating their upper bodies from the hips and swinging the masks in wide circles, the dancers imitate Amma, the creator god, who brought all things to life. Their outstretched movements symbolically spread the force of life throughout the world.
MEDIUM Wood, leather, pigment, vegetable fiber
DATES 20th century
DIMENSIONS 42 1/2 x 23 1/4 x 9 in. (108 x 59.1 x 22.9 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
ACCESSION NUMBER 1995.171.11a-c
CREDIT LINE Gift of Allen C. Davis
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Mask with a wooden superstructure in the form of a double barred cross with short vertical elements projecting from the tips of each horizontal bar. Center of face protrudes, while sides on lower portion of face cut away. White pigment on face and superstructure, blue pigment and leather squares on bars. Netted rope fiber attached to sides of facial mask. Condition: worn. Heavy encrustations of organic matter. Paint fragmentary. Surface abrasions throughout.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Dogon. Mask (Kanaga), 20th century. Wood, leather, pigment, vegetable fiber, 42 1/2 x 23 1/4 x 9 in. (108 x 59.1 x 22.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Allen C. Davis, 1995.171.11a-c. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1995.171.11a-c_SL1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1995.171.11a-c_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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