african masksLeiden Dogon
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A fine Eastern Pende Panya-Gombe African mask. Coll.: David Norden

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Leiden Dogon - myth and reality

Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde Leiden



Tel: 071 - 5168 800


found at: Dogon Leiden18 /02/2005 till 28 /08/ 2005

Postal Address : P.O.BOX 212 - 2300 AE LEIDEN
Netherland email: info*

in collaboration with the National Museum Mali

The Dogon live in Mali, on the Plateau, along the Bandiagara escarpment and in the plain of Seno-Gondo, the latter extending into Burkina Faso. And we find Dogon people outside Dogon territory - in large Malinese conurbations such as Mopti and Bamako, as also in Ghana, Ivory Coast and France. They all identify themselves as Dogon, despite wide cultural differences.

The Dogon have become the best-known people of Africa, thanks to the many publications and films about them. Their culture and the imposing landscape in which they live have contributed to their familiarity. Although they are few in number, they have succeeded in keeping their traditions alive.

Dogon art is known world-wide. Many artists - surrealists, cubists and the Cobra group - have drawn inspiration from it and collectors are prepared to pay a fortune for Dogon pieces. Recently a Dogon statue was sold to a Paris museum for € 4million. The local population sees practically nothing of this money.

Some objects in daily use, such as forked stepladders and the doors and locks of granaries, are regarded in the West as true objets d'art. The auction house catalogues regularly offer this type of object at high prices. Dogon stepladders now decorate the interiors of many modern Western houses.

Many of the objects in this exhibition come from the Musée National du Mali. They were collected in the course of a campaign organised jointly by the Musée National and the Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde in Leiden and financed by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
A new collaborative project with the Mission Culturelle de Bandiagara is designed to preserve some villages in Dogon territory.
In this way at least part of the Dogon cultural inheritance will be preserved for future generations.

Dogon Map-Bedaux & Van-der-WaalsDogon Map-Bedaux & Van-der-Waals (click to view larger)

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The Tribal Arts of Africa

The Tribal Arts of Africa
Author: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart

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