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Ancestral figure representing a hermaphrodite

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    New York (photographed)

  • Date:

    1935 (photographed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Evans, Walker, born 1903 - died 1975 (photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level F, case X, shelf 202, box I

Physical description

Photograph from an exhibition of African art displaying a Dogon figure of a hermaphrodite. The figure is made from wood and is from the Bandiagara region of Mali.

Place of Origin

New York (photographed)


1935 (photographed)


Evans, Walker, born 1903 - died 1975 (photographer)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 27.25 in Height of figure

Object history note

NB: The term "negro" was used historically to describe people of black (sub-Saharan) African heritage but, since the 1960s, has fallen from usage and, increasingly, is considered offensive. The term is repeated here in its original historical context.

Historically, the term hermaphrodite was used to describe people born with sex characteristics which do not fit the typical definitions for male or female bodies. The word intersex has come into preferred usage for humans, since the word hermaphrodite is now considered to be stigmatizing as well as clinically problematic. The term is repeated in this record in its original historical context.

This ancestral figure embodies the spirit of the family and is used in burial ceremonies of the Dogon people of Mali, near the city of Bandiagara.

Descriptive line

Photograph by Walker Evans depicting a wooden sculpted figure of a hermaphrodite from French Sudan (modern day Mali) at a Museum of Modern Art exhibition entitled 'African Negro Art'. New York, 1935.

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)


Photographs by Walker Evans

List of Photographs

The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1935
African Negro Art Edited by James Johnson Sweeney, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1935



Subjects depicted

Sculpture; Gender; Hermaphrodite; Figures; Dogon; Mali


Africa; Photographs; Black History; Gender and Sexuality


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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