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    Description

    DOGON, Mali
    Equestrian Figure

    Forged iron

    Dogon blacksmiths carve wood masks and figures, forge iron tools, cast brass ornaments and figures and make iron lamps and staffs, some of which may be surmounted by forged iron animal or human figures. These are for the use of Dogon dignitaries. Freestanding forged iron human or animal figures are less often to be seen and have not been the subject of much field research. It is supposed that their meaning is the same as that of the iron figures that crown staffs and that the freestanding iron figures are similar in meaning to their counterparts in wood.

    Horses belong only to the very wealthy, and an equestrian image expresses status, prestige and power, not only of the image itself, but also of the owner. The image brings honor to the man who owns it. Equestrian images may depict mythical ancestors or Hogons, the Dogon religious leaders. The scepter carried by the rider in the present figure probably connotes power.

    Blacksmiths are critical of each other's works, judging the neatness and grace of the forms as well as the balance of parts, such as the size of the horse head against the length of its neck or legs. They express admiration for details, like the wrought spirals of the horsetail in the present example. An encrusted patina on this figure perhaps indicates that sacrifices were made on it by its owner.

    Provenance:
    From the Estate of Liz Claiborne and Arthur Ortenberg

    Read more about the Liz Claiborne and Arthur Ortenberg Collection here.


    Sotheby's Egon Guenther Family Collection, November 18, 2000, lot 163

    Published:
    African Art in Medal, Bokhorst, 1970, figure 383

    Exhibited:
    African, The South African National Gallery, Cape Town

    Height: 6 ¼ inches


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    July, 2016
    8th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 944

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