dogon introduction

Dogon Art

The Dogon have a complex origin myth and cosmological system. The myth states that the first Dogon primordial ancestors, called Nommo, were bisexual water gods. They were created in heaven by the creator god Amma and descended from heaven to earth in an ark, and the encounter with the first inhabitant, the pale fox. The Nommo founded the eight Dogon lineages and introduced weaving, smithing, and agriculture to human descendants. The Dogon have three categories of ancestral spirits: 1. the mythic Nommo spirits founded their lineages form which the Dogon are descended. 2. Binu spirits, the ancestors in the form of animals, lived in mythic times before death was introduced to Dogon world. They became the protective totems of the clan, a source of power and protection. 3. Ancestors spirits from a person's real linage and clan ancestors, lived in this world. All types of these ancestor spirits are worshipped in shrines, ensuring their beneficial protectiveness to the community. Illness and infertility are the two main reasons for invoking magical assistance from the spiritual realm (Perani & Smith 1998: 48-50).