African, Mali, Dogon peoples
20th century
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Mali


Height x width: 15 3/8 x 7 1/16 in. (39 x 18 cm)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art



The meaning of Dogon masquerades and masks has been open to much speculation. This example is one among more than seventy-eight different Dogon mask types, ranging from animals and humans to abstract configurations that performed during complex funerary rituals organized by Ava (or Awa), a men’s society. They facilitated the transition of the deceased into the realm of ancestorhood.

Such masks are among the most famous and sought-after works in African art. Tourists have visited Dogon country and purchased similar masks produced for the market since the 1930s.


Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart