Funerals are quite elaborate; when a person dies the Dogon believe their spirit hangs around for a while afterwards, and the big ritual occurs a year or two after the death, when it is decided that the spirit needs to move on. This ceremony is the famous Dogon mask dance that the young men of Songha and other tourist towns perform on demand for paying visitors. The masks represent the Dogon community, including both wildlife and people: there are Kanaga masks (the Dogon symbol for the world), rabbits, antelopes, monkeys, women, Peul, Dogon, Bambara, even ethnographer and doctor masks, adopted after the arrival of white anthropologists and explorers in the 1930?s. A lot of research has been done recently on the effect anthropologists have had on the region as far as influencing the evolution of the dances. Some of the Dogon feel that the newer "white" masks aren?t traditional or authentic, and have stopped including them in the dances, despite the fact that the Dogon have always made masks depicting newcomers (Peuls, for example).
Added on: Mar 30, 2001 | Hits: 3095