Dogon Stool – Mali

Stools designed as a pair of discs joined by four columnar figures are a hallmark of Dogon wood carving tradition. While examples meant for utility have featureless, angled supports, more elaborate ceremonial stools bear two pairs of figures representing mythological ancestor spirits with cosmological significance. Figural stools were owned primarily by hogon, the highest-ranking leaders of religious and political life in Dogon society. Stout, strong proportions and a dark patina give this figural stool a powerful sculptural presence. In contrast with the elongated, more naturalistic body forms found in the most detailed Dogon stools, the figures here are more abstract and compact, echoing the outward-bending angles of simpler stools with thrusting elbows and arms.

Late 19th century
7 1/2" h 7 1/2" w
Wood
Provenance: Private US collection
#506
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