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Page history last edited by Barbara Allen 15 years, 11 months ago

How I got here








I was carved from wood gathered in the forest over 50 years ago. Granary doors and other Dogon wood carvings are very popular with tourists to Mali, so popular that the government of Mali has made laws to protect the forests.  Now gathering fallen wood is allowed but cutting down living trees is not. When I was carved, cutting was still allowed. Traditional wood carvings have become so popular the the Mali also forbids the export of old carvings. Some Dogon villages have become very good at marketing their products. The carved posts of Dogon toguna (men's meeting place) are very desirable as art objects.  Some Dogon villages carved new posts for their toguna's and then darkened and aged them. Then they substituted the new posts for the original posts. The original posts were stored for safekeeping.  That way tourists could buy authentic toguna posts (60 days old) and the village got to keep the original post (60 years old). 

The iron pieces in my lock were made from iron smelted locally. Iron is no longer smelted in Mali but when I was made, smelters like the one shown here were used to create high quality iron from iron ore. Blacksmiths used the iron to create things like door locks, nails and staples. Now Dogon blacksmiths

work with metals imported from outside Mali. Smelting was last done in Mali in the 1960's. The furnace you see here was a reconstruction built by 13 master smelters in Mali in 1995, to prove that iron could be smelted in small "homemade"smelters as well as big blast furnaces. 

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