Dogon Dyougou Serou
20 inches tall (50.8 cm)
Estimated early to mid 1900’s
Ex Jean Pierre Hallet Collection – California, USA.
The Dogon believed that the god Amma created the earth from a lump of clay. The body of the earth was feminine and its sexual organ was an anthill, and its clitoris a termite hill. Amma, the lonely creator, approached the earth wanting sexual intercourse, but the earth was unwilling; the termite hill rose up in resistance, revealing its masculinity. Amma cut it down then proceeded to have intercourse with the excised earth. Because the earth was an unwilling partner, this constituted a breach in the order of the universe. The offspring of this union was Dyougou Serou, who, having no wife committed incest with his mother. As a result of this incestuous act, Dyougou Serou was endowed with the gift of the first word, the earliest primitive language. To rectify the impurity caused by Dyougou Serou’s misdeed, Amma decided to create human beings directly without further union with the earth. This Dogon African art figure represents Dyougou Serou and is shown hiding his face in his hands in shame for his misdeed.