Kresge Art Museum
African Art: Western Eyes

Togu na housepost

Dogon peoples, Mali
Dogon peoples, Mali
20th century
Wood, iron
Gift of Harry and Freda Schaeffer, 70.10.19, 23, 21

Dogon architectural sculpture, like the granary shutter and togu na housepost , embellish Dogon villages that are scattered along the cliffs of the Bandiagara escarpment in southeastern Mali. Most villages are picturesque clusters of houses, granaries and shrines, complete with turrets, which have become a favorite spot for tourists who are interested in experiencing African village life. The symbolic focus of every Dogon settlement is the togu na, which is a meetinghouse and a place of governance. The togu na is the exclusive space of male elders, yet the posts are often decorated with prominent female images to highlight the importance placed on the harmonious interrelationship between male and female elements in Dogon society.