It was in the many caves of Mali, in the famous Bandiagara cliffs region, that the masks were made and kept, hidden from the curious. At the time, looking at them was forbidden if you were not an initiate.
The Sirige masks could easily measure three meters high and were undoubtedly the most impressive of West Africa. The Kanaga masks in the Dogon tradition were probably the most easily recognizable because of their form, reminding us of the Lorraine Cross, They were some of the most significant, symbolically speaking. For the initiates it represented Man and its position between Heaven and Earth. The masks were worn for the ceremony ending a period of mourning called ‘Dama’, symbol of rebirth.
Photos : Danses d’Afrique de Michel HUET – Edition du Chêne