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Kanaga Mask - grains of africa
Kanaga mask – large

Kanaga Mask



Product Description

This Kanaga mask from the Dogon Tribe in Mali. It has been crafted out of wood, pigments and plant fiber. The Awa traditionally controls the Dogon masks. The society was predominately made up of the male initiates whose role was to conduct the public rites that ensured the transition of the dead into the spirit world. A large proportion of the Dogon mask participated in the funerary rites and a celebration called Dama which took place at the end of the mourning period. The masks were used in the Sigui which was a celebration that took place every 60 years to mask the change in generations. The abstract nature of this mask has left it open to many different interpretations and due to the secretive nature of the Awa it has been difficult to ascertain the true meaning of the mask. Few are privy to the actual meaning of the mask as such knowledge is held by the tribal elders and priests. One school of thought refers to the mask as a bird and another school of thought feels that it is a female spirit. Ceremonies involving the Kanaga mask are still held today where wearers appear in groups and perform elaborate dances swinging the masks in figure eights and brushing the ground with the upper part. Another school of thought believe that the Dogon use the mask in a cemermony called Dama. The Dama dance is felt to bridge the gap between the living and the dead and allow the dead to cross over peacefully.

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