TITLE: Dogon Dyommo
GENERAL REGION: Africa
DESCRIPTION: Dyommo (hare) Mask
CEREMONY: Awa Society; Dama
FUNCTION: Entertainment; Funereal
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: kaolin clay
The Dogon people of Mali use a tremendous variety of masks, most of which center around funeral rites to usher the spirit of the dead from the village back to its proper place in the bush. Traditionally, the Awa Society controlled the use of masks. Some masks have an entertainment and story-telling function as well, such as this dyommo (hare) mask along with the dannana (hunter) masquerader. The dannana pretends to hunt several dyommo masqueraders, who hide among the spectators and escape. There are two species of hare that inhabit Dogon territory in Mali, both nocturnal: the African savanna hare (Lepus microtis) and the Cape hare (Lepus capensis). Such hares are so fast that the only animal capable of chasing them down is the cheetah.