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Dublin Core




Praying Female


This is a carving. It is made of wood. It was made by the Dogon of Mali, Africa. The sculpture depicts a standing female figure with raised arms. One of her hands is opened, and another is closed. Many of her features are accented, like her large breasts and protruding belly button. She stands on a base, her feet having long toes that match her fingers. The female figure wears a loincloth, a necklace, decorative bands up her arms, and a labret piercing. The markings on her chin are possibly scarification. She has wide eyes, a long nose, and stacked lips with her hair close to her head. This carving is in the “Tellem” style. It does not come from the Tellem people, who lived in Mali before the Dogon. “Tellem” style references the old gesture of raising a figure’s arms. The movement is a sign of praying for rain. The figure’s armlets and wristlets may be an indication of her high social status. The necklace and loincloth may also attach spiritual importance to her as well. Carved sculptures such as this act as either an addition to an altar or an altar itself in spiritual practices of the Dogon.


The Dogon


Martha and Robert Fogelman


The Art Museum at the University of Memphis


ca. 16th/19th century


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wood, carving
Depth: 7.500