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Figure with Raised Arms

Dogon or Tellem civilization

Not on view

The gesture of extending both arms above the head has been interpreted as an entreaty for rain. During the period in which this work was likely carved, rainfall in the Sahel is known to have significantly increased following a period of drought. The two-sided composition of this planar sculpture is powerful in silhouette and plays with subtle relief elements. On the front, the abbreviated arms frame an oval projection of the head that aligns with traces of raised elements suggestive of the navel and female genitalia. Embedded within an otherwise blank expanse on the reverse is a human figure that echoes the work’s overall form in miniature.

Figure with Raised Arms, Wood, organic materials, Dogon or Tellem civilization

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© Archives Fondation Dapper, photo by Hughes Dubois