Leopard mask from Mali


aaaMystrySolvd-1014Q:  My father has an extensive collection of African masks and statues, some of which we have identified, and some that are still a mystery.  He acquired this mask, along with most of his collection, between 15 and 20 years ago in Philadelphia at stores and festivals.  This mask is wood with what appears to be old paint.  Any information is appreciated.  It is likely that he paid less than $100 for the mask.  Dan, 1014

A:  I would say it’s a Dogon leopard mask from Mali, but it could be some other critter. The Dogon people have created more than eighty mask types to represent characters in their cosmic myths. Some are rarely seen on the market. They are worn in large numbers in funeral dances. The Dogon use such dances to lead the homeless souls of the deceased to their final resting places in the world of spirit, where they become part of the ancestor realm.  B+



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