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Bruce Frank Primitive Art
New York City, NY
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Miniature Ladder for a Binu Shrine

Dogon, Mali
19th-early 20th century

Provenance:
Catherine Cootner, San Francisco

Called miniature ladders, these works replicate the form of the full-size versions, yet their purpose is spiritual rather than utilitarian. Along with pottery and figures, miniature ladders were placed on interior domestic shrines, where Dogon thought the souls of specific ancestors dwelled. The Dogon believe the ladders facilitate a spirit’s ability to reach his ancestor. In Dogon sacrificial practice, poured libations created a layered patina over the carved wood. The patina on this ladder developed over a very long period of time from the numerous ritual libations it received, most likely consisting of mixtures of animal blood, minerals from the surrounding landscape, and millet.

Miniature Ladder for a Binu Shrine

Dogon, Mali
19th-early 20th century

Provenance:
Catherine Cootner, San Francisco

Called miniature ladders, these works replicate the form of the full-size versions, yet their purpose is spiritual rather than utilitarian. Along with pottery and figures, miniature ladders were placed on interior domestic shrines, where Dogon thought the souls of specific ancestors dwelled. The Dogon believe the ladders facilitate a spirit’s ability to reach his ancestor. In Dogon sacrificial practice, poured libations created a layered patina over the carved wood. The patina on this ladder developed over a very long period of time from the numerous ritual libations it received, most likely consisting of mixtures of animal blood, minerals from the surrounding landscape, and millet.

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