DOGON TOGUNA POSTS, Mali

 

DOGON
Toguna 12
65" high
$5000

 

DOGON
Toguna 2
50" high
$3000

DOGON
Toguna 3
40.5" high
$2500

DOGON
Toguna 4
54.75" high
$3500

 

DOGON
Toguna 5
51" high
$3000

 

DOGON
Toguna 7
50" high
$2000
 

The posts above have been vetted as authentic, with signs of use and age.

Despite their appearance, the posts below were probably made to be sold.



 DOGON
Toguna 6
51" high
$1800
  

 

DOGON
Toguna 8
50.25" high
$2000

 

DOGON
Toguna 11
67.5" high
$2000

DOGON
Toguna 9
49.5" high
$1200

DOGON
Toguna 10
51" high
$ 1000

 

The Toguna post below has been sold and is left here for educational and research purposes.

 



 DOGON
Toguna 1
45.5" high
SOLD

Photographs © Tim Hamill

DOGON, TOGUNA POSTS, Mali

The toguna is the most important public edifice in a Dogon village, in which men's assemblies and council meetings are held. (togu = shelter, na = big, great or mother, therefore toguna = great shelter) Its position is chosen by the chief and the village is built around it. The toguna posts, therefore, are cultural artifacts of major importance and power, created by man, imbued with spirituality and aged by the earth.

In general, togunas are low constructions on three rows of supports (wooden uprights or stones) covered by beams that support a thick roof of millet stalks. The wooden posts, among the most impressive and monumental works of traditional Africa, are carved of kile wood (Prosopis africana), a very hard wood and durable. The tree, when reaching about 6 feet, splits in two and, when cut off at the base, creates a natural fork that supports the beams of the roof, which can average 22 tons.

With several feet of the post buried in the earth, the inside height of the toguna is only 4 - 5 feet, kept short to offer protection from the sun and heat and to encourage a calming effect on the men by keeping them seated and therefore less prone to posturing or fighting. Some of our posts have discoloration in the buried area, others have it rotted away to varying degrees, witness to their fused contact with the earth.

The toguna is intended to reproduce the shelter where the eight primordial ancestors met together, and in fact each of them is identified with one of the supporting pillars. The posts were prized by collectors and sometimes stolen, and some were defaced to keep that from happening. Muslim conversion of villages and closure of some of the togunas has facillitated the legal purchase and exportation of the posts.

We have mounted and have photographed only the smaller of our toguna posts. The weight (19-90 lbs.) as well as the height is indicated on each page.  Only No. 1 (and it is half gone), 4 and 12 are of the scale to have served as a roof support associated with toguna houses. We have more of this size in the gallery and can provide photos to those interested. The other smaller ones on this page are similar except in scale.

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