Dating ritual of the alligator

The Dogon are an ethnic group living in the central plateau region of Mali, in West Africa, south of the Niger bend, near the city of Bandiagara, in the Mopti region.The population numbers between 400,000 and 800,000.According to OgotemmĂȘli's description of them, the Nummo, whom he also referred to as the Serpent, were amphibians that were often compared to serpents, lizards, chameleons, and occasionally even sloths (because of their being slow moving and having a shapeless neck).They were also described as fish capable of walking on land; while they were on land, the Nummo stood upright on their tails.The principal Dogon area is bisected by the Bandiagara Escarpment, a sandstone cliff of up to 500 m (1,640.42 ft) high, stretching about 150 km (90 miles).

As the growth of cities increased, the demand for slaves across the region of West Africa also increased.The historical pattern has included the murder of indigenous males by Islamic raiders and enslavement of women and children. Dogon art revolves around religious values, ideals, and freedoms (Laude, 19).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 (Laude, 20).Although the Nummo were identified as being "Dieu d'eau" (gods of water) by Marcel Griaule, OgotemmĂȘli identified the Nummo as hermaphrodites and they appeared on the female side of the Dogon sanctuary.They were symbolized by the colour red, a female symbol.According to this oral tradition, the first Dogon settlement was established in the extreme southwest of the escarpment at Kani-Na.Archaeological and ethnoarchaeological studies in the Dogon region were especially revealing about the settlement and environmental history, and about social practices and technologies in this area over several thousands of years.Influence from Tellem art is evident in Dogon art because of its rectilinear designs (Laude, 24).Griaule had lived amongst the Dogon people for fifteen years before this meeting with OgotemmĂȘli had taken place.Historically, Dogon villages were established in the Bandiagara area in consequence of the Dogon people's collective refusal to convert to Islam a thousand years ago.Dogon insecurity in the face of these historical pressures caused them to locate their villages in defensible positions along the walls of the escarpment.


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