Peoples & Societies


Dogon farmers in the rocky plateau and plains of Bandiagara in Mali established their villages under vertical cliff faces to protect themselves from invasion. The Gur-speaking Dogon peoples migrated to this area in the 15th century to escape the Mande, and they developed an architectural style to fit their defensive geography. The cult of ancestors is important to the Dogon, who craft various sculptures and instruments for these ceremonies and other initiation rites. Figural sculptures are carved in a stylized manner as are the wide variety of masks also made by the Dogon peoples, whose present population is nearly two hundred and fifty thousand.

Excerpt from

Roslyn A. Walker, The Arts of Africa at the Dallas Museum of Art (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2009), 301.

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