Dogon, Mali. 18th-19th Century. Wood. 15" H x 5" W x 5" D
Dogon is one of the most ancient, mysterious and complex tribes. Residents of remote and rugged areas in Mali and Burkina Faso, they have nevertheless developed many sophisticated astronomical, medical, and mythical systems. Each mask corresponds to "tiers" of training with the elders that young men go through to transition to manhood, and holds significance in their development as a complete tribal member. This extremely rare remnant once bore a superstructure on its top. Even with the passing of time, one can see how such a mask inspired many of the most well-known Cubist artists in the West.