This female figure is one of about a dozen works that have been attributed to the same Dogon artist, identified by art historians as the Master of Ogol after a village in the Sanga region where a work in this corpus was collected in 1935. The shape of the head and facial features of works created by the Master are distinctive for the helmetlike head and the unique horizontally stacked mouth-nostrils-chin ensemble, closely framed by the strong vertical nose and cylindrical lip ornament. Works identified as dege dal nda, or "sculptures of the terrace," were only removed from storage for the funerals of rich men, on which occasions they were dressed and displayed on the rooftop terrace of the deceased. Such figures may also have been part of altars established for women who had died during childbirth.
Lester Wunderman, New York, until 1977
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Bascom, William Russell. African Arts: An Exhibition at the Robert H. Lowie Museum of Anthropology of the University of California at Berkeley. Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley, 1967.
Laude, Jean. African Art of the Dogon: The Myths of the Cliff Dwellers. New York: Brooklyn Museum, 1973, no. 52.
"Advertisement for Michael Oliver." African Arts vol. 13, no. 1 (1979), 81.
Ezra, Kate. Art of the Dogon: Selections from the Lester Wunderman Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1988, no. 14.
Van Beek, Walter E. A. "Functions of Sculpture in Dogon Religion." African Arts vol. 21, no. 4 (August 1988), pp.58-65, 91.