Sep 9, 2009
Sep 9, 2009

Shoulder crook (yo domolo)

Shoulder crook (yo domolo)

c. 1935

Wood

Overall: 62.3 cm (24 1/2 in.)

Gift of Katherine C. White 1971.290

Did you know?

The yo domolo is a ceremonial version of the everyday L-shaped staff (domolo) that a Dogon man carries.

Description

This crook (yo domolo) commemorates a divine theft: a protohuman called a Nommo stole embers with a similar crook, bringing fire and ironworking to earth. Using yo domolo, the Yona society (“ritual thieves”) reenacts this event following members’ deaths. Blacksmithing and fire are central to Dogon life; blacksmiths also carve. Each yo domolo they make links to a specific clan and can be visually interpreted several ways. This crook’s open “mouth” shows where the Nommo held the stolen embers, while its length echoes their earthbound journey down a rainbow. The zig-zags may be the expanding universe, thieving snakes, or even the keys robbers use.

See also
Collection: 
African Art
Department: 
African Art
Type of artwork: 
Sculpture
Medium: 
Wood

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