Tellem neckrest (Three quarters view)
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Item : Tellem neckrest, Picture : Three quarters view (approx. 28 Kbytes)

Neckrests are among the oldest surviving wooden objects in West Africa. Found in burial caves in the Bandiagara cliffs, high above Dogon villages, neckrests are attributed to the Tellem people who preceded the Dogon in the cliff. The Tellem did not live in caves, but they used some for funerary rituals and burials, and others in which they built mud-brick granaries for millet storage (see picture).
Burial caves contained many objects that were offered as gifts for the dead : bowls, potteries, necklaces, bracelets, rings, and iron staffs. Neckrests may have been objects of high status, because only a few caves contained them. Curved rest, convex vertical supports, and a rectangular base, such as this, are a very rare and unusual form.
11th / 14th century.

Object #2928

Origin :

Mali (Ireli area, Bandiagara cliffs)

Type :

Ritual items

Ethnic group :

Tellem / Dogon

Material :

Brownish eroded wood, exceptional aged patina

Size :

W = 7.2 inches; H = 5.7 inches

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