Lot 5
  • 5

A Superb Dogon Seated Figure, Mali

50,000 - 70,000 USD
Log in to view results
bidding is closed


the seated human figure with an elongated, slightly curved torso, the left arm leading to a diminutive hand supporting the oversized head; exceptionally fine encrusted varied brown and grey patina.


J.J. Klejman, New York
John Friede, New York
Ben Birillo, New York
Acquired from the above, 1970s


Warren M. Robbins and Nancy Ingram Nooter, African Art in American Collections, 1989, p. 61, fig. 24
Hélène Leloup, Dogon Statuary, 1994, pl. 95
David Deroche, "Monumental Miniatures: The Saul and Marsha Stanoff Collection," Tribal Art, 32, Autumn 2003, p. 66, fig. 8

Catalogue Note

One of the most striking examples of Dogon sculpture in the Bombu-Toro style, the subject figure was interpreted by Hélène Leloup in her landmark book Dogon Statuary, as representing a sick person with frail limbs, the right hand touching the left elbow showing a gesture asking for forgiveness (Leloup 1993: text to pl. 95). As the Dogon do not believe in natural causes for illness but attribute them instead to curses or transgressions (ibid.), in this sculpture the artist created a dramatic and touching metaphor for the self-imposed suffering of mankind. For other Dogon figures showing the same iconography cf. Lehuard (1989: 15) for an example formerly in the Kerbourc'h Collection and Arts d'Afrique Noire, 26, Ete 1978, p. 6.