Dogon Togu na Post
Approx Age: 20th Century
Dimensions cm: 163 (tall) x 37 (wide)
Ref. Number: M0572
Dogon Togu na post from the Bamako region of Mali. Weathered with age but still in very good condition with only deterioration to the base that has been under ground. Standing at 5 1/2 feet tall this Dogon Togu na post has a lovely presence.
The Togu na is a basic element in the Dogon village, not just as a physical building but as an associated reference point for the whole village. The numerous functions which take place under the shelter of the Togu na include: the administering of justice, the fixing of the agricultural calendar, emergency interventions (famine, epidemics, natural disasters) administrative decisions ( taxes and any expenses involving the community ) moreover the Togu na is a meeting place, a place for teaching and working, for rest and conversation. Togu means shelter ( referring more precisely to the roof) na means ” big”, ” great” or “mother” therefore the Togu na is the “great shelter” or ” the mother shelter”. The Dogon also refer to it as ” house of words” ( words uttered in the Togu na take on a value and importance which make them different from any other words), or “the men’s house” (the Togu na is reserved for the men, women being absolutely excluded). The Togu na is usually rectangular in shape with the main axis going from north to south. The main vertical supporting structure is composed of pillars, Togu kubo, the material used for them varies depending on what is available in a particular place. Wooden beams, laru, (fruit trees must never be used for this purpose) resting on the main pillars form main horizontal structure, and branches, Sabu, perpendicular to them form the horizontal structure on top which lies the roof, togu, made of alternative layers of millet stalks, keru (which can grow to a length of six meters), to keep off the sun. The floor depends on the ground it is built on, on the different materials available and on the main function attributed to the Togu na in that particular village: (mimetic look-out post, visual and metaphysical landmark or meeting place).
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