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The Dogon of Mali are among the oldest surviving African cultures, although they have always been threatened by the most powerful neighboring tribes.


For protection, until about 300 years ago, the Dogon built their villages near the Bandiagara cliff, and therefore they’ve been nicknamed the tribe of the hill, the cliff or the mountain.


The symbolic style of the doors and panels may vary, and in this case the Tellem "ancestors" are represented. Some scholars speculate that part of the Tellem may have merged with the Dogon, as would appear to be witnessed by elements of material culture, such as wooden statues still in use among the Dogons and named Tellem, and above all the mysterious history of the particularly advanced astronomical knowledge of which the Tellems would have been aware and of which traces would remain in the legends of the Dogon.

In particular, the Tellems believed that their origin was to be found in the star Sirius, to whom they attributed the existence of a twin star: this situation was confirmed by astronomical science only in the second half of the twentieth century, we are not able to date to explain where this ancient wisdom comes from.


The Dogon of Mali are known worldwide for their creation of Dogon doors, panels and shutters. These objects have various uses in their society: in the first place as the closure of barns, secondly, they are created and exchanged as gifts for birthdays, weddings, luck. These doors are also used for rites of passage and, if used as part of architecture, the symbols engraved on them give indications on the function of the dwelling they protect.


Authentic Dogon door

  • Details

    Dating: XIX-XX

     Dimensions: H: 104 cm L: 53 cm P: 7 cm

     Weight: 10 kg

    Material / technique: wooden sculpture

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