Dogon masks, such as this one called kanaga, are worn primarily at dama, a collective funerary rite for Dogon men. The ritual’s goal is to ensure the safe passage of the spirits of the deceased to the world of the ancestors. The ceremony is organized by members of Awa, a male initiation society with ritual and political roles within Dogon society. As part of the public rites related to death and remembrance, Awa society members are responsible for the creation and performance of the masks.
Like other Dogon wooden masks, kanaga masks depict the face as a rectangular box with deeply hollowed channels for the eyes. The superstructure above the face identifies this mask as a kanaga.
CMAA is an experience created by African artifacts collector Eric Edwards, who has amassed one of the largest African art collections in the United States. In a journey of over fifty years of carefully selecting these items, which date back to over four thousand years, these rare and unique African artifacts are now being shared with the public in a museum setting for education and joy.
Address: Cultural Museum of African Art, Inc. The Eric Edwards Collection 1360 Fulton St, 2nd Floor Brooklyn, NY 11216