Dogon figure on camel
Country: Dogon Country, Mali.
Material: bronze alloy
The Dogon are especially known for their religious traditions, their masked dances, their wooden sculpture and their architecture.
If there is a technique that can characterize the work of metals and especially bronze, it is that of lost wax .
This procedure for manufacturing small, and not so small, bronze sculptures has been practiced in almost all of Africa, mainly in coastal areas because it is easier to obtain raw materials.
The artist sculpts or works a small figure in wax, until the desired shape is achieved. In the upper part, several ducts also made of wax are fixed; the artist covers the interior and exterior with wet refractory clay or mud and tries to make the external layer thicker, to give the whole a greater solidity. It is left to dry in the sun or in an oven, depending on the greater or lesser degree of technique achieved by the artist. When it has dried well, he heats the piece to melt the wax and a vacuum is left into which the molten metal is introduced. The metal extends to occupy all the nooks and crannies of the mold. Two holes are made, one through which the bronze or molten metal is poured and another through which the wax escapes, which will be covered at the appropriate time, allowing the mold to cool down afterwards. Once cold, the mold is broken and the figure obtained will be finished with a chisel or other incisive instruments, achieving figures as special as those we have in Sankore.
*All products are made by hand so there may be some variation in shape and size.