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Web of Art 15: African Interactions

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Masked Dancers with Men on Stilts Representing Young Women.
20th c African (West) Dogon Performance

DOGON Anonymous (active 13th c - present) Primary
20th c
Tireli Village. Mali.
Los Altos. Cohen Collection.
Here are two more scenes of Dogon dancers, all with symbolic masks. The masks on the right represent a farmer and the Superior Woman, both of whom played important roles in Dogon society. The figures on stilts represent Fulani women, but they are danced by men who wear false breasts as part of their costumes. Women are not allowed to dance in most of the masked ceremonies, and in some cases are not even allowed to see the dances. The Fulani women represent "the forbidden other," women of a group of semi-nomadic herders who have a symbiotic relationship with farmers like the Dogon and Bamana. They are tall and willowy--hence the stilts--beautiful, exciting, and tempestuous, but forbidden. Each group is clearly defined and intermarriage is forbidden in the villages, where parents still arrange marriages for their children.

Caption: DOGON | Masked Dancers with Men on Stilts Representing Young Women. | 1999 | African | Dogon
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