Dogon-N'duleri Standing Figure, Mali
- Height: 52 1/2 in (133 cm)
Allan Stone, New York
The most elegant and refined of all Dogon styles originated in the center and to the north of the Bandiagara Plateau in the region of the Ndule River, or n'duleri [ri = country of]. The N'duleri Style is closely linked with the art of the ancient Djenne empire and presumably is a direct result of the Songhay invasion in the 15thcentury and the ensuing Djennenke diaspora. For a historic account see Leloup (1994: 115 and 165). Leloup (1994: 165) notes: "Crafted with care, they represent tall and thin human beings, always with an elegant hairstyle which varies according [to] the workshops, and, above all, they have a characteristic trait, the close-set eyes [...]. This style, which seems to have reached its peak in the 18th century, is a condensation of the classical art of the north - realism and force - with a suppleness, an elegance, not found elsewhere, completely opposed to the [Dogon] sculpture on the southern cliff, which is very constructed, cubist, abstract."
The monumental statue from the Allan Stone Collection, of great age with a lyrically weathered surface, originally featured raised arms representing a prayer for rain. Stylistically it closely relates to another large-scale figure previously in the collections of Ralph Nash and Allan Mann (sold Christie's, Paris, June 14, 2011, lot 125) and may well be a work by the same artist. This figure was dated to the 17th-18th century and it seems plausible to assume a similar date for the Allan Stone statue.