Mini Dogon Ladders

Mini Dogon Ladders


This piece was made by the Dogon people of Mali. Located about 200 miles south of Timbuktu, the Dogon number about 400,000. They speak many different distinct dialects, and while originally a hunting society, they now cultivate several types of grains that they store in granaries. This region is arid and difficult to access, keeping the Dogon isolated and aiding in their cultural preservation. 

Ladders like the one seen here are used for reaching the upper levels of their granaries as well as the flat roofs of their homes. They are Y shaped and have large notches carved out of the vertical portion. Functional ladders are much larger than this one, and strong enough to support the weight of an adult. The notches serve as footholds and allow for easy ascension.

 Small ladders like this one are for purely spiritual purposes. Miniature ladders typically feature sharper and more angular grooves than their large counterparts, as they are protected from the elements and are not regularly handled. Dogon homes feature an altar that houses a small clay jar containing the soul of the head of the family. Around this there are other small statues and a miniature ladder- this will function as a tool the ancestral soul will use to climb to the beyond. 

19.5" x 2.5"