Dogon Tellem Female Statue Mali
Around 1490, the Dogon fled the Mossi cavalry and its Islamic theology, settling in the imposing cliffs of Bandiagara, the land of the Tellem. As more Dogon migrated into the area, they absorbed the Tellem into their culture. In the process, there emerged what is recognized today as the "Dogon style." There are numerous theories about the meaning of these statues, from a "prayer for rain," to less specific ones, with the statue serving as a priestly intermediary for ancestral contact. Like most Dogon art, its true meaning is shrouded in myth. The Dogon, numbering around a quarter of a million, are one of most remarkable cultures in the world. Due to centuries of cultural isolation, Dogon art remains remarkably unaffected. They have become a laboratory, of sorts, for ethnologists. They are a very hospitable people, much to the relief of the scholars and journalists who have intruded upon them. Though they occasionally perform dances for visitors, they carefully guard the majority of their ritual and artistic traditions. The enduring fascination with the Dogon shows no signs of abatement.