Lot 3
  • 3

Dogon-Tintam Male Ancestor Figure, Mali

Estimate
40,000 - 60,000 USD
Sold
50,000 USD
bidding is closed

Description

  • wood
  • Height: 33 7/8 in (86 cm)

Provenance

Jay C. Leff, Uniontown, Pennsylvania, by 1959
Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, October 10-11, 1975, lot 176A, consigned by the above
Allan Stone, New York

Exhibited

Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Exotic Art from Ancient and Primitive Civilizations, the Collection of Jay C. Leff, October 15, 1959 - January 3, 1960
Carnegie Institute, Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, The Art of Black Africa: Collection of Jay C. Leff, October 24, 1969 - January 18, 1970

Literature

Walter A. Fairservis, Jr., Exotic Art from Ancient and Primitive Civilizations, Collection of Jay C. Leff, Pittsburgh, 1959
Carnegie Institute, The Art of Black Africa: Collection of Jay C. Leff, Pittsburgh, 1969, no. 14
Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, African Art from the Collection of Jay C. Leff, April 22, 1967, lot 18

Catalogue Note

At the northernmost end of the Bandiagara Escarpment is the Bondum region, one of the most remote and inaccessible areas of Dogon country. In her 1994 classification of Dogon art, Hélène Leloup identifies a sculptural style from this region which she names Tintam, for the main village of Bondum. The stylistic hallmarks of the style, which is quite close to pre-Dogon Djennenke sculpture, include a close-cropped cap-like "bowl" coiffure, heavy, rounded bodies, and the absence of any represented clothing except in some cases loincloths, jewelry, or Muslim-inspired amulets.  The present massive male figure is a particularly impressive example of this archaic style.  See  Leloup (2011: 134) for a figure in a Belgian private collection with a similar zig-zag border around the edge of the coiffure, with an approximate date of 15th-17th centuries obtained by radiocarbon testing.

Formerly in the collection of Jay C. Leff, the Stone Dogon-Tintam figure is further distinguished by its rubbed surface and oily ritual patina, indicating a long period of use in situ.  Deliberate orderly abrasions at the mouth, beard, and arms appear to be the remnants of a ritual practice of scraping small bits of material from the figure.  Such scrapings have been observed on other early Dogon figures, such as for example a figure previously in the collection of the artist Chaim Gross (see Sotheby's New York, May 15, 2009, lot 19).

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