Kresge Art Museum
African Art: Western Eyes
 

Staff with seated figure

Dogon peoples, Mali
Staff with seated figure
Dogon peoples, Mali
20th century
Wood, iron
Gift of Harry and Freda Schaeffer, 70.10.19, 23, 21
Most Dogon families support themselves through farming (although the tourist industry has become a viable alternative) and their granaries are used to store the surplus crops. The densely carved rows of human figures decorating granary shutters may symbolize fertility and agricultural abundance. Iron staffs are often representations of the close association between spirit beings called Nommo and blacksmiths and they are often placed on altars dedicated to the Nommo.