The Dogon are an ethnic group of between 400,000 and 800,000, living in modern-day Mali.
They have a rich history in the area dating back to the 10th century, and are famous for their wooden sculpture. Ornate masks and sculptures define Dogon artwork, but functional sculptures like the granary ladders were used in Dogon villages to climb to the flat roofs of homes. Absolutely necessary to Dogon architecture, which is mostly carved into sandstone and reminiscent of pueblo architecture, these ladders make multi-leveled housing possible, opening up roofs to be used for storage, living, and sleeping. Though the architecture and the ladders were originally developed to defend their settlements over 300 years ago, the Dogon now enjoy a peaceful lifestyle. The unique y-shape of the ladders, created by carving wedges into forked tree trunks is important, as it gives the ladder stability.
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