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Togu Na Post

Arts of Africa

Togu na are essentially shelters, consisting of carved posts, such as this one, which support wooden beams piled with layers of millet stalks. The thick roof of millet stalks absorbs the heat of the sun, providing a cool refuge during the hottest part of the day. This post's decoration is minimal, with breasts that refer to the nurturing power of women and a lizard that, in Dogan culture, symbolizes femininity. The togu na is one of the most important buildings in any Dogon village. It serves as a meeting place for men who make important decisions affecting the community.

DATES 19th century
DIMENSIONS 48 x 16 1/2 x 7 in. (121.8 x 41.8 x 17.8 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE Gift of Eugene and Harriet Becker
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Post with a straight shaft and forked top. Decorated with a pair of human breasts, bordered at the top by two rows of incised interlocking triangles, and at the bottom by a single row of incised triangles. Below a reptile is carved in high relief. CONDITION: Piece shows expected wear, including extensive weathering. Bottom portion is stained darker color where it was inserted into the ground.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Dogon. Togu Na Post, 19th century. Wood, 48 x 16 1/2 x 7 in. (121.8 x 41.8 x 17.8 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Eugene and Harriet Becker, 1991.226.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1991.226.1_bw.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 1991.226.1_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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