By Victoria Rovine
University of Florida (formerly University of Iowa)
Millet, a staple grain of the Dogon diet, is stored in large mud granaries that stand beside houses in family compounds. The field photo below shows several such granaries. These granaries represent a family's insurance against starvation in the arid, drought-ridden Dogon region. The wooden doors or shutters that cover the granary's opening are often decorated with figurative carving in the linear style that characterizes much Dogon sculpture. Carved on a door, such references to ancestral forces may serve a protective role, invoking their power to ensure the continued well-being of the family and the community.