The Dogon's Masked Dama Dance
Source: National Geographic and The Republic of Mali. Ceremony photos supplied by Kyle Mijlof Photography.
The Dama Ceremony
The ceremony that follows the mourning is called the dama dance. Trancelike, energetic movements are performed by the men to accompany the dead into the ancestral realm and restore order to the universe. Through such sacred rituals, the Dogon believe that the benevolent forces of their ancestors are transmitted to them as the dance creates a bridge into the supernatural world.
The Dogon perform these ceremonies to honor the passing of a respected elder. This dama dance ceremony will often last for three days and involve dozens of dancers representing figures from the animal world, male and female powers, and the afterworld.
Once the dama dance has been performed, the aged bones of the elder are placed high in the windswept Bandiagara cliffs in the caves for the dead.
The Sirige Mask
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