Overall: 74.9 cm (29 1/2 in.)
Gift of Katherine C. White 1976.172
Most Dogon art is religious and portrays ancestors, priests and priestesses, or mythic beings who serve as intercessors between the living and Amma, the creator god. The raised arms of this figure may refer to the first being created by Amma and its role in ordering and purifying heaven and earth. Another interpretation links the figure with rain-making rites; blackened figures symbolize the plea for dark rain clouds. A third explanation associates the sculpture with annual planting rites in which priests throw millet grain on the heads of the people -- symbolically showering them with the blessings of rain and good crops.
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