Dogon Ritual Circumcision Mask
The Dogon people of Mali use a tremendous variety of masks, most of which center around funeral rites.
Traditionally, the Awa Society controlled the use of masks.
This mask would have been used in the adult initiation ritual for boys between the ages of 9 and 12, at their circumcision.
During the ritual, members of the Awa Society wear masks such as this one, representing important ancestors.
The Dogon are famous for their strange and often very beautiful masks.
Many of them are devoted to animals.
They wear them to dance and imitate the behavior of the character depicted on the masks.
The Dogon are mainly found in eastern Mali in the Bandiagara region.
However, some isolated Dogon villages are located in Burkina Faso,
along the Malian border near Djibo.
Dogon Burkina country extends across this border zone.
The masks can be worn during the Dama dancing ceremonies.
The Dogon believe that the Dama dance creates a bridge into the supernatural world.
Without the Dama dance, the dead cannot cross over into peace.