African, Dogon peoples, Mali
Late 19th to early 20th century
height: 50.8 cm (20 in.)
Medium or Technique
Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)
According to Dogon cosmology the creator god Amma and the female earth joined to create the Dogon primordial ancestors, known as nommo. Wooden sculptures said to represent these nommo spirits or their worshippers were carved by blacksmiths and placed on family altars. This figure illustrates the typically Dogon elongation of torso and neck, and the contrasting interplay of curving and angular, vertical and horizontal, elements. The combining of both male and female characteristic is also common.
1960s, sold by J. J. Klejman (dealer), New York, to Samuel Wagstaff (b. 1921 – d. 1987), Hartford, CT; sold by Wagstaff to William Rubin (b. 1926 – d. 2006), New York. September, 1984, sold by Michael Oliver, Inc., New York, to William and Bertha Teel, Marblehead, MA; 1991, partial gift of William and Bertha Teel to the MFA; 2014, acquired fully with the bequest of William Teel to the MFA. (Accession Dates: January 22, 1992 and February 26, 2014)
Gift of William E. and Bertha L. Teel