The Damas of The Dogon

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The Dogan people are a tribe that lives in the central plateau region of Mali, in Western Africa. They are well known for their mysticism, traditions, wooden sculptures and architecture. Every year they organise a traditional funeral rite known as the 'damas'. The dama consists of masquerades that lead the souls of the departed to the spiritual realm through a series of dances and rites. The dancers secure the masks using their teeth. Each Dogan village will differ in the design of their masks used and will have their own way of performing the dama ritual. Below is a picture of a group of masquerades using stilts to carry out the dama in all its splendour.