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Web of Art 15: African Interactions

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L. Girl Pounding Grain. R. Woman Pounding Grain.
20th c African (West) Bambara People

DOGON Anonymous (active 13th c - present) Primary
DOGON Anonymous (active 13th c - present)
20th c
Kala Villiage. Mali.
In our brief look at Africa the Dogon of Mali will stand for the many village cultures found throughout the continent, and they give us a glimpse of the way things were. The Dogon have maintained to a great degree the old ways of life; most remain animists, and few have converted to either Islam or Christianity. The art of the Dogon most often represents the spirit world, but that world is closely linked to the everyday. On the left we see a young woman pounding grain, either millet or a very special grain called "fonio," which has tiny seeds. On the right is an ancient wooden statue of a young woman engaged in the same activity. The pounding of grain is a basic and much needed activity, and serves the purpose of flour mills found in many other cultures. Since bread is the staff of life, the women and girls work long and hard to provide enough for their families. They often stand in a circle pounding while they talk and sing, and when searching for a wife, a young man looks for a strong girl who can pound fonio.

Caption: L. COHEN R. BAMBARA | L. Girl Pounding Grain. R. Woman Pounding Grain. | 1999 | African | Bambara
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