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The Dogon

12 August 2005

Dogon artThere was a massive thunderstorm in the night and the family in the next tent, who seemed to have every possible mod con (including what looked like a freezer and a microwave) had their radio or TV on half the night and switched channels every five minutes to make sure I did’t get too bored.

Ethnographic museumThere are lots of museums in Leiden and I decided to visit the Ethnographic museum first, basically because it was the nearest, but also because I spotted a poster for their temporary exhibition on the Dogon (who live in Mali) and produce beautiful artwork (you can see an example on the right). Many people have heard of them in connection with the star Sirius, which apparently they knew about when “discovered” by westerners. I was disturbed, but not surprised to hear that Dogon art is highly prized and sold for vast sums – but that little of this money finds it way back to the people.

There was so much to see that I never even got to the Ancient History Museum (whole purpose of visit!), so decided to stay another night and go for it tomorrow.