hogon within the dogon culture

Dogon art revolves around religious values, ideals, and freedoms.

Older references sometimes identify them as the “Habe,” a Fulani word meaning “stranger” (Gray 2007). The Awa is a cult of the dead, whose purpose is to reorder the spiritual forces disturbed by the death of Nommo, a mythological ancestor of great importance to the Dogon. While people began to suspect its existence around 1844, it was not seen through a telescope until 1862. Some masks are associated with a story pertaining to the character portrayed. For example, small, single-chamber buildings called binu serve as public shrines for maintaining peace with the spiritual world (Gray 2007). Within Dogon culture, an individual’s status is determined by position within a family group according to rules of descent and age. There are three principal cults among the Dogon; the Awa, Lebe and Binu. At the age of 12, male Dogons are circumcised and become eligible to dance in religious rituals like the dama. Despite the good intentions, UNESCO status has created problems. Chosen at an early age the Supreme Hogan is a direct descendant of the eldest of the four Dogon ancestor brothers.

The body is interred either in a cemetery located on flat land or in some cases, within a Tellem cave where it is covered with the bones of ancestors (Douny 2014). Dogon dwellings can be seen near the base.Figure 4: Dogon cliff dwellings along recesses of the cliff face at Figure 6: The hunter’s lodge in a Dogon village (Figure 7: Suspicious eyes of a Dogon girl and her brother after accepting the gift of a pen.Figure 8: Men prepare land for planting millet in a common field in Figure 10: Painted symbols represent local families at a grotto near the village of Figure 11: Dancers wearing satimbe or “great woman” masks (left) and antelope masks (right) in the village of Figure 12: Village elders assemble to watch a dama performance. Navigating the narrow pathways of a Dogon village is a fascinating experience. Sacred objects within a village may be communal, or specific to a family unit or individual. The cliffs provide a spectacular physical setting for Dogon villages built on the sides of the escarpment. The guy ana (male granary) is a square building used to store millet or sorghum.

Click on a particular site to see photos and descriptions. Figure 3: Tellem caves high on the cliff face. There are over 200 Dogon villages across the escarpment and each village has a democratically elected headman (Hogon), who is also their spiritual leader. The Dogon name for Sirius B (Po Tolo) consists of the word for star (tolo) and "po," the name of the smallest seed known to them. Start studying The Dogon. A Dogon saying is that high granary roofs identify prosperous villages. Temperatures during the hottest months from mid-February through March may reach 47°C. During early performances, dancers wearing cloth bédyé (pupil) masks may perform on the rooftop of the deceased’s home to guide the soul to the final resting place. Dogon sculptures are not made to be seen publicly, and are commonly hidden from the public eye within the houses of families, sanctuaries, or kept with the Hogon . Dogon Culture in Eastern Mali and Malian Religion –Robin Edward Poulton aka Macky TALL Dogon masks are the most wonderful in Africa. Outer walls of Dogon homes are often decorated using geometric designs. Key Points. Readers wishing to study the Dogon in more detail are encouraged to consult the writings of Marcel Griaule, Pascal Imperato, Robert Temple, and Shannon Dorey listed in the bibliography. The primary purpose of Awa dance ceremonies is to lead souls of the deceased to their final resting place in the family altars and to consecrate their passage to the ranks of the ancestors.The cult of Lebe, the Earth God, is primarily concerned with the agricultural cycle and its chief priest is called a Hogon. These include impromptu dances, animal sacrifices, and mock gun battles (Davis, 2002). Less common is the sigui ceremony, held every sixty-five years to commemorate the replacement of one generation by the next (Van Beek1992). The highlight of most visits to a Dogon village is an opportunity to see a dama performance. Over the period of a farmer’s life, his family may occupy a succession of homes as he gains seniority. Some villages along the escarpment now have tourist lodges, while guides offer visitors an opportunity to climb up to cliff structures and explore settlements on the top of the plateau. Within these regions the Dogon population of about 300,000 is most heavily concentrated along a 200-kilometer (125 mile) stretch of escarpment called the Cliffs of Bandiagara. Made from an elongated wooden board and twisted cord, a string instrument called a bullroarer may also be played.

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