Face Mask with Articulated Female Figure (satimba)


Dogon Peoples
Place Made
Wood, rawhide
38 1/4 x 34 1/4 x 4 1/8 in (97.155 x 86.995 x 10.4775 cm)
Credit Line
Bequest of Victor K. Kiam
Accession #

Dogon masks surmounted by female figures are called satimbe, commemorating a mythological woman who first discovered and wore a mask. According to myth, her husband stole this mask, and from that time on Dogon women have been prohibited from wearing or coming close in contact with masks. The satimbe also represents the Yasigne, or "sisters of the mask", women who are born during the sigi festival, held every sixty years to honor the apprearance of death among humans.

The yasigne are the only women allowed to approach the masks and are involved in the performaces. Today, Dogon masks are used less often for dama festivals and are instead worn during secular performances, either greeting visiting tourists or in the celebration of civic events. Unlike contemporary satimbe masks, which are more naturalistic in their stylization of the human form, this mask has a more minimalist and abstract form.