The Dogon people inhabit the large Bandiagara plateau, with most of the villages situated on cliffs to the north and the east. Because of the difficult approach to these regions and the aridity of the climate, the Dogon have been isolated and hence were able to conserve their ancient religious habits and ways of making the necessary implements, their carvings. Over seventy anthropomorphic and zoomorphic mask types have been recorded among the Dogon. The masks evoke the form of animals associated with their mythology, yet their significance in many cases is understood only by the highest ranking cult members whose role is to explain the meaning of each mask. The crocodile mask was worn by dancers during ceremonies that protected the people from the malevolent influences of slain crocodiles.
This mask has been in the Raskin collection for over 25 years. Check it out at our Museum Site