DOGON / BAMANA IRON LAMP 16, MALI

Photographs © Tim Hamill

DOGON / BAMANA
Iron Lamp 16
29.5 " high x 6" wide x 5" deep
$1000

This iron lamp has been vetted as authentic, with signs of significant age and use. It is mounted on a custom 5" x 5" base.

Oil known as tulu, made from the Karite tree nut was burned in the cup to produce a dark, smoky light that was as much a light for ritual purposes as for illumination. Lamps such as this would serve in the house but also would provide light, real and ritual, for masks when they danced at night. A small spoon hanging by a chain was used to adjust the wick, made of twisted cotton (known as fitine-juru) burning in the Karite oil. This lamp with it's standardized forms is an example of the change of style in Bamana lamps as other forms of iron material became available and in this instance the horseman and support of the lamp is riveted together rather than fully forged.

---Dr. Daniel Mato
Professor Emeritus of Art History, Faculty of Fine Arts, The University of Calgary

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