Museum Folkwang
Kanaga-Maske der Dogon
  • Africa
  • Kanaga-Maske der Dogon, undatiert

  • Kanaga-Mask of the Dogon
  • 82 x 51 cm
  • Acquired in 1958
  • Inv. K 587
  • CommentaryThe ›Kanaga mask‹ from Mali tells a story of life and death. On display at the museum, it is a resting dance prop. You can observe the beauty of its design, but the movement is missing.

    The ritual dance for which the ›Kanaga mask‹ was made has a magical function. The mask is made by the Dogon tribe for burial rituals, in which the spirit world of the deceased is invoked. The cross-shaped structure alludes to the black-and-white bird of creation in Dogon mythology. The simultaneous alignment with both the earth and the sky refers to the Creator, who reaches up with one hand and down to the earth with the other. During the dance the dancers bow so far forward that the Creator touches the ground, sky and earth, the here and beyond unite. The mythology and the shape of the mask were passed down by oral tradition over 600 years, with the result that today there are various interpretations among the Dogon.

    Karl Ernst Osthaus did not purchase the mask for Museum Folkwang. In Europe it wasn’t until later on that people were interested in Dogon art. It came to fame at the Paris Colonial Exposition of 1931, which featured a dance performance with ›Kanaga mask‹. It wasn’t so much the abstract formal language that fascinated Europeans, but rather that in the context of the debate on the subconscious they had a particular penchant for the animistic world view of the Dogon. Both ethnologists and art collectors bought tribal sculptures and objects. In the 1960s the ancestral caves, where wooden sculptures had been kept, were all but plundered. Yet the dance ritual with the ›Kanaga mask‹ is still celebrated today and has survived as a religious tradition.
  • Provenance1958, Dr. Werner Rusche, Köln
    1958, Museum Folkwang, Essen
  • Obj_Id: 4,472
  • Obj_Internet_S: ja
  • Obj_Ownership_S (Verantw):Archaeology, Global Art, Applied Arts
  • Obj_SpareNField01_N (Verantw): 185
  • Obj_Creditline_S: Museum Folkwang, Essen, Alte, außereuropäische und angewandte Kunst
  • Obj_Title1_S: Kanaga-Maske der Dogon
  • Obj_Title2_S: Kanaga-Mask of the Dogon
  • Obj_PartDescription_S (Titelerg):
  • Obj_SpareMField01_M (Alle Titel): Kanaga-Maske der Dogon Kanaga-Mask of the Dogon Kanaga-Maske der Dogon
  • Obj_Dating_S: undatiert
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  • Obj_IdentNr_S: K 587
  • Obj_IdentNrSort_S: K 0587
  • Obj_Classification_S (Objtyp): Theatre/Cult
  • Obj_Crate_S: 82 x 51 cm
  • Obj_Material_S:
  • Obj_Technique_S:
  • Obj_SpareSField01_S (Mat./Tech.):
  • Obj_AccNote_S (Erwerb): Acquired in 1958
  • Obj_PermanentLocation_S (Standort):
  • Obj_Condition1_S (Druckerei):
  • Obj_Condition2_S (Auflage):
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  • Obj_Rights_S: © Museum Folkwang, Essen
Commentary
Artists
Provenance

1958, Dr. Werner Rusche, Köln
1958, Museum Folkwang, Essen