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date: 28 February 2021

Dogon Art and Architecturelocked

Artwork and buildings of the Dogon people who live in present-day Mali.
  • Suzanne Blier

Extract

Much of Dogon art consists of striking ritual masks made with carved wood and other materials. Dogon architecture conveys symbolic relationships in Dogon society and is considered one of the most distinctive styles in West Africa.

The Dogon live in the rugged yet beautiful Bandiagara escarpment of south central Mali. They migrated to this remote cliff area around the fifteenth century c.e.. in part to preserve their cultural beliefs and institutions when the Islamic Mali empire was at its height. When the Dogon arrived at the Bandiagara escarpment, they found architectural and other remains of earlier civilizations, among these the Toloy (third century to second century b.c.e.) and the Tellem (eleventh century to fifteenth century c.e. Dogon building weaving iron working and pottery traditions reflect both an interest in these and other earlier regional art forms and an influence from contemporary regional political and cultural centers ...

A version of this article originally appeared in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience.

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