Dango House post

Object Title: House Post

Materials: Wood

Country: Mali

Cultural: Dogon

Date Created: 20th Century

Wooden posts such as this example that support the Togu Na (the central structure in Dogon village architecture), hold a unique significance within Dogon culture in Mali. These posts are not merely utilitarian but serve as symbolic, cultural, and spiritual pillars of the community.

Carved with intricate designs and symbols depicting classical Dogon iconography, the posts go beyond their structural role, and act as carriers of spiritual messages, and are considered guardians of the Togu Na and the community itself. They are believed to protect against negative forces and spiritual harm, creating a boundary between the sacred space of the Togu Na and the outside world. In some Dogon communities, the size and placement of these posts may also signify social hierarchy, with specific posts reserved for elders or individuals of higher status.

Notably, some Togu Na posts feature images related to the Nommo, beings believed to have descended from the sky. These beings hold a central role in Dogon mythology, as they are believed to have played a vital part in shaping Dogon culture. Consequently, other imagery may incorporate elements of sexuality, reflecting the Nommos’ significance in matters of fertility and creation.


Exhibition History:

In Memoriam – Bonnie Terrill Ross (1956-2022). New York: QCC Art Gallery of CUNY, October 12, 2023, to February 16, 2024.