Female Figure with Mortar and Pestle
Tintam, Dogon


Carved wood
19th century
Height: 30 ½ in. (77.5 cm)

Ex collection Bernard Dulon, Paris
Ex collection Jan Lundberg, Malmö
Ex collection Galerie Ratton Hourdé, Paris

Published and exhibited: Dogon,
Galerie Ratton Hourdé, Paris, 2005 p. 57

Yale University GvR Archive 0017860

New Beginnings – Parcours des Mondes 2017

Video – full screen

Price: sold

Western Africa
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This slender sculpture represents a female figure using a mortar and pestle to grind millet, the basic element of the Dogon diet. This fundamental nourishing activity also has symbolic connotations, with millet and grains occupying a role of primary importance in the Dogon belief system about the origin of the universe, and the first appearance of mankind in it.
There emanates from this female figure, with its head sitting haughtily on its shoulders, a remarkable nobility and poetry.
This statue combines the classic canons of Dogon art: a hieratic verticality, an assertive and dynamic pose, and a long neck that confers dignity and an upward thrust to the figure.
According to Jean Laude, poet, ethnologist, critic and art historian, « Dogon sculptures, more than any others, give bodies to feelings and religious values, constituting symbolic and esoteric entities. »