Why the Dogon Doors Are So Special
The Dogon tribe is one of Africa's most fascinating tribes, but also a vanishing one.
Located in the region of Mali, in West Africa, south of the Niger Bend, they've been living there since the 15th Century.
The Dogon are best known for their religious traditions, their mask dances, wooden sculpture and their architecture.
Historically, Dogon villages were established in the Bandiagara area in consequence of the Dogon people's collective refusal to give up their religious and cultural beliefs a thousand years ago.
Dogon insecurity in the face of these historical pressures caused them to locate their villages in defensible positions along the walls of the escarpment.
Because of this isolation, their art has remained one of the most authentic on the African continent and it has remained mostly intact.
A striking design feature of Dogon architecture are the carved doors and doorways which portray ancestral figures to protect the people of the village and their families.
The representational carvings of ancestors serve to keep spirits at bay and offer protection from worldly and unworldly sources of harm.
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