Dogon Hermaphrodite statue

Djennenke style
Type: figure
Exhibits: Cycle of Life
Tribes: Dogon
Location: Bandiagra, Western Plateau, Mali
Period: 20th Century
Materials: Patina, Wood

This is a hermaphrodite statue with both male and female attributes. It seems to be an archetype: a man and a woman united, a Dogon concept that comes out of the collective unconscious and easily understood by everyone, everywhere… The Dogon… consider that each individual possesses two sexes at birth (H. Leloup: 28). From the outset, each human had being given two souls of different sex, or rather two principles corresponding to two persons inside everyone. For the man, the female soul is lodged in the foreskin. For the woman, the male soul is housed in the clitoris (Griaule 1948:20). Circumcision and excision removes the other sex, allowing one to fully become man or woman." (H. Leloup:28). This statue has a virile head, the portrayal of the chieftainship and muscularity that are represented by the long protruding beard and hair with the bun on top of the head, a former hairstyle of the lords (the hair pulled up into bun held by ribbons was the hairstyle of the Nono chiefs).The femininity is accentuated by the protuberant abdomen, and the drooping breast of a woman who has nursed many times, it symbolize the importance of woman's role,Founder of a lineage and Nurturing mother. Djennenke sculptures are slightly taller than the average Dogon sculpture and are rendered with great realism. One of the distinct common traits is the exaggerated scarifications, forming grid of horizontal or diagonal rectangle, on the temples (H. Leloup, Dogon statues: 28, fig.14). 

Dogon Hermaphrodite statue
Dogon Hermaphrodite statue
Dogon Hermaphrodite statue
Dogon Hermaphrodite statue