Mask (kanaga)

African, Dogon peoples, Mali
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified


Object Place: Mali

Dimensions

Overall: 98 x 55 x 21 cm (38 9/16 x 21 5/8 x 8 1/4 in.)

Accession Number

2009.2711

Medium or Technique

Wood, leather, rope, pigment

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

Classifications

Sculpture

Kanaga masks are among more than seventy-eight different Dogon mask types, ranging from animals and humans to abstract configurations. Kanaga masks facilitated the transition of the deceased into the realm of ancestorhood during complex funerary rituals organized by Ava (or Awa), a men’s society. 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.

Provenance

Late 1960s, acquired in Paris by 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