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Dogon family compounds at the base of the Bandiagara escarpment, Sanga region, Mali

Catalog Data

Elisofon, Eliot  Search this
Collection Photographer:
Elisofon, Eliot  Search this
1 Slide (col.)
Dogon (African people)  Search this
Archival materials
Color slides
Scope and Contents:
"Villages in Dogon country along the escarpment are composed in clear-cut social units. A village generally consists of several wards. Each ward includes a few clans, called gina [ginna (gin'na)], meaning literally "big house." Some special buildings mark the wards and clans. Each ward has its dancing square, tei; overlooking the tei is the major togu na, the men's house; a special building, yapunu ginu, is reserved for menstruating women; each clan has an ancestral adobe, called gina. In addition, most wards have one major shrine, standing apart. Walled in with a low stone fence that marks the limit but allows the neighbors and the passersby to look in, a typical family compound has a hut for the man, a hut for each of his wives, and a fair number of granaries. An altar, tucked away in a corner of the compound, and if possible situated under an overhanging rock, serves for worship and sacrifices." [Hollyman S. and Van Beek W., 2001: Dogon, Africa's People of the Cliffs. Harry N Abrams, Inc.]. During his trip to Mali, Elisofon visited the Dogon people in Sanga (Sangha), a group of thirteen villages lying east of Bandiagara at the top of an escarpment. This photograph was taken when Eliot Elisofon was on assignment for Life magazine and traveled to Africa from August 18, 1959 to December 20, 1959.
Local Numbers:
U 1 DGN 3.2 EE 59
Title is provided by EEPA staff based on photographer's notes.
Local Note:
57938 1 48
Frame value is 19.
Slide No. U 1 DGN 3.2 EE 59
Collection Restrictions:
Use of original records requires an appointment. Contact Archives staff for more details.
Collection Rights:
Permission to reproduce images from the Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives must be obtained in advance. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.
Vernacular architecture  Search this
Cultural landscapes  Search this
Color slides
Collection Citation:
Eliot Elisofon Field Collection, EEPA 1973-001, Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution
EEPA.1973-001, Item EEPA EECL 18532
See more items in:
Eliot Elisofon Field collection
Eliot Elisofon Field collection / Mali
Archival Repository:
Eliot Elisofon Photographic Archives, National Museum of African Art