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Dogon Ladder (Mali)

The Dogon ladder from Mali is not just a simple tool for climbing. It's a significant cultural artifact that embodies the rich traditions and beliefs of the Dogon people, an ethnic group inhabiting the Bandiagara Escarpment in Mali, West Africa. Carved from a single piece of wood, these ladders hold deep spiritual significance.


For the Dogon, the ladder serves as a symbol of connection between the earthly realm and the spiritual world. It is used in various rituals and ceremonies, including those related to initiation rites and ancestral worship. Each step represents a stage in the journey towards spiritual enlightenment, and climbing the ladder is seen as a metaphor for ascending to higher levels of consciousness.


Beyond its symbolic value, the Dogon ladder also serves practical purposes in everyday life. It is used for accessing rooftops, granaries, and other elevated structures in the Dogon villages built into the cliffs of the escarpment. Despite its utilitarian function, the ladder remains imbued with meaning, serving as a tangible link to the Dogon's heritage and spiritual beliefs.

82in x 25in x 7in

Misgana African Art Private Collection

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