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L. Altar from the House of the Hogon R. Minaret from Djinguareben Mosque.

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L. Altar from the House of the Hogon R. Minaret from Djinguareben Mosque.
14th c African (West) Dogon Architecture

DOGON Anonymous (active 13th c - present) Primary
DOGON Anonymous (active 13th c - present)
14th c
L. Sanga Villiage. Mali. R. Timbuktu.
Because of its placement on the alluvial plane, both wood and stone were scarce, but mud was plentiful. Using this humble material, the peoples of Mali developed an architectural style that has gained world attention. Islam had been brought into sub-Saharan Africa by the Muslim traders. In ancient Ghana a separate town had been built for the traders, a town which contained a mosque. Schools were set up for teaching the Koran as well as the mathematics needed by traders. The children of the African rulers sometimes attended. As a result, sometime the rulers would be converted from their animist beliefs to the new religion. Sundiata was one of these. However, African rulers were usually extremely tolerant, allowing their people to follow the ancient animist traditions if they wished. The people of Timbuktu had black skins, but they were mixed with the blood of the Islamic Berber traders. A group known as the Tuaregs, whose origins go back to the Islamic traders, has long been established in the deserts to the north. This mixed heritage is most likely responsible for some of the most interesting features of the architecture. The images shown here are both from Mali, the one on the left a Dogon altar from the House of the Hogon in Sanga Village. The Hogon served essentially as high priest of the animist cult in the town. The minaret on the right comes from the Djinguareben Mosque in Timbuktu which was built by Emperor Kankan Moussa when he took the city from the Tuareg. This minaret bears little resemblance to the tall slender structures commonly found in North African mosques. The similarity of the shapes may come from a common ancestral form for religious architecture, but one cannot overlook the explanation that the communality may spring from the characteristics of the material used in both. Mud, or adobe, as we would more likely call it, can be formed into tall slender structures only with great difficulty, and will not remain that way under the force of rain. As it is, these structures must be replastered with mud every year after the annual rains.

Caption: DOGON, SUDANESE | L. Altar from the House of the Hogon R. Minaret from Djinguareben Mosque.| 14th c| African | Dogon
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