Piero Besaglia - Sandro Savella
In the border country between the Republic of Mali and the Republic of Upper Volta, in villages of mud and straw clinging to the pinky-grey rocks of the Bandiagara table-land, live the Dogons, a people numbering just a few hundred souls who dedicate themselves to agriculture, cattle raising, sculpture and, every so often, to war.
The appearance of their villages is unmistakable: the houses and barns - in a variety of geometrical shapes ranging from the cube to the prism, from a truncated pyramid to a cylinder - look from a distance almost to be fitted one into another, like the pieces of a gigantic puzzle clamed to the steep sandstone cliffs.
To gain entrance into this seemingly chaotic heap of buildings a police permit will not suffice; the visitor also has to be received by the village headman and to observe the rules he lays down about "prohibited" places and in general about behaviour which is suitably respectful of the fiercely held traditions of the Dogons.
|This article is contained in
Ligabue Magazine 6
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