John B. Mors


"Togu Na, Mali."

"Togu Na, Mali."
Steel. 1990. 73" x 52" x 36"
The Dogon people of Mali live on the Bandiagra escarpment, a row of cliffs stretching 125 miles parallel to the Niger River.
Every Dogon village has a Togu Na, to shelter the men as they discuss village matters. The structure represents the shelter where the eight primordial ancestors ( four pairs of twins ) met; each being identified with one of the supporting pillars, which are frequently represent him or her. The roof of the structure is millet stalks, and the pillars are stone or wood.
The occurrence of the primordial pairs is common in Dogon sculpture, and appears in both freestanding sculpture and sculptural decoration. For example, in sculptures of the Primordial Couple, the pair sit on a stool, which has four legs representing their offspring, each of whom is both a twin, and man and woman in the same body.

The sculpture aims to recreate both the image and spirituality of the ToguNa. The upper box represents the millet 'roof', and the eight pillars, each of which is different, represent the Primordal ancestors.
The interesting thing about the sculpture is that, when completed, it more closely resembled the Tomb of Philippe Pot, than a Togu Na.
Tomb of Phillipe Pott, Grand Senechal de Bourgogne, by Antoine le Moiturier, executed from 1477 to 1483, from the abbey church of Citeaux, Cote-d'Or, France. Painted stone. Musee du Louvre, Paris, France.

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