Dogon Stool M0571
- Tribe: Dogon
- Origin: Mali
- Approx Age: Early - Mid 20th Century
- Materials: Wood
- Dimensions cm: 35 tall x 30 wide
- Ref. Number: M0571
A very aged and used Dogon stool consisting of the 8 primordial beings, these four couples were named Jon, Onu, Aru, and Dominu and also known as the Nommo. They stand between two discs (top and bottom of the stool) this is to represent the earth and the sky.
This particular Dogon stool has seen plenty of use in its lifetime, on the top is encrustation in parts and worn in well, where the bottom has had a fair bit of insect invasion which is not present now. this is estimated to be an early to mid 20th century Dogon stool to which would have been carved for the Hogon of the village
.Wooden stools serve the Dogon people for everyday use. There are two distinct types. The simple, abstract ones like the one that we have here that is old and wonderfully eroded by time, use and exposure. The more complex ones are supported by figures. Dogon traditions describe the cosmos as two disks (the top of the stool and the base) forming the sky and earth connected by a tree, being stools with a central post. Those with a post in the middle are linked with Dogon mythology. The zigzag patterns suggest the path of their descent and flowing water and refer to the symbol of Lébé, the first human and priest who was transformed into a serpent after his death. The disk on top serves as an altar surface for libations.
Dogon stools vary in complexity and design. Most often you will see Dogon stools with figures around the rim acting as supports between the upper and lower platforms. These figures generally represent Dogon ancestors referred to as “Nommo” and were generally reserved for people of high status in Dogon culture, like priests. The supporting figures on stools represent the founding ancestors in their descent from sky to earth. They were used as symbols of authority.
Dogon art is extremely versatile, although common stylistic characteristics – such as a tendency towards stylization – are apparent on the statues. Their art deals with the myths whose complex ensemble regulates the life of the individual. The sculptures are preserved in innumerable sites of worship, personal or family altars, altars for rain, altars to protect hunters, in market. As a general characterization of Dogon statues, one could say that they render the human body in a simplified way, reducing it to its essentials. Some are extremely elongated with emphasis on geometric forms. The subjective impression is one of immobility with a mysterious sense of a solemn gravity and serene majesty, although conveying at the same time a latent movement. Dogon sculpture recreates the hermaphroditic silhouettes of the Tellem, featuring raised arms and a thick patina made of blood and millet beer. The four Nommo couples, the mythical ancestors born of the god Amma, ornament stools, pillars or men’s meeting houses, door locks, and granary doors. The primordial couple is represented sitting on a stool, the base of which depicts the earth while the upper surface represents the sky; the two are interconnected by the Nommo.