This sculpture from the N’Dulerie Region was the second horseman we purchased in den last 10 years, since we ere living in Segou Mali.. The last owner – the owner, the legendary dealer Adama Ouolegam, Bamako, who is now more than 80 years old – collected it in the North of the Dogon country not far from Hombori, the last bigger city on the way to Tombouctou. Since several years a zone that should no longer be entered by whites because it is dominated by Islamic terrorists. Ouolegam was one of the leading dealers of Helen Leloup, when she collected the Dogon pieces for her Gallery in Paris. Most of this old generation of Dogon dealers aren´t alive anymore. When I negotiated with Ouolegam about this horseman, he showed me that there were formerly Dogon sculptures that were as big as his arm.
“There is no such thing to be found today, which is as large as my forearm, and such figures are very rare nowadays, and a horseman from the N’Dulerie region is even rarer in this size. Nowadays there are sometimes sculptures that are as big as my half-forearm. ”
Dogon figures showing horses and riders depict the prestige and power surrounding an animal that has been associated with these qualities since it was introduced into West Africa more than a thousand years ago.
In Dogon society, horses were generally considered a luxury reserved for rich or powerful people. Horses occur in Dogon beliefs about the creation of the world and the horse and rider figures are seen as a symbol of a mythological personage.
The horse and rider figures theme is a common one found throughout the art of the Western Sudan, and is often seen in sculptures of the Senufo and Bamana the neighbosr the Dogon.
“But the condition of this horseman is not comparable with the stuff you sold once to Madame Monbrison or Helene Leloup. This is a “fetish-sculpture” with a thick, ugly and encrusted patina, which I know also from a Bamana horseman I once bought from Daba Diarra..”
“Daba is a Bamana and I am a Dogon, don´t forget this. The Dogon stuff is much more rare and now I am selling the rest of my pieces. The time you can deal with Dogon pieces is over. Nowadays also Camara has Bamana pieces. But for the Dogon stuff I am the number one”
“It´s a long time ago you were well-known in Paris and Bruxelles.. you had this big name. This sculpture is really ugly. One leg is missing. Half of the chest is eaten by mice or rats, the base is restored or I dont´ know what. Let’s go to the Jeep, Aguibou: Adama has no good stuff anymore.He want´´ to sell us a really ugly and fragmentary horseman. We go to Daba Diarra, he has better stuff and he is much more cheaper”.
My chauffeur and I got into our Jeep in front of Adamas house at Hippodrome.
“Come on, get out again. What do you pay?
4.800 – 5.600,- Euro
Height: 66 cm
Weight: 4,7 kg