Tellem neckrest (Profile view)
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Item : Tellem neckrest, Picture : Profile view (approx. 13 Kbytes)


Neckrests are among the oldest surviving wooden objects in West Africa. Found in burial caves in the Bandiagara cliffs (see pictures), 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.

Burial caves contained many objects that were offered to the deceased : 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, vertical support with a projection from the central post, and a rectangular base, such as this, is a very rare and unusual form (probably reserved for male burials).
11th / 14th century.

Object #4336

Origin :

Mali (Bandiagara cliffs, Teli)

Type :

Ritual items

Ethnic group :

Tellem / Dogon

Material :

Dark-brown eroded wood

Size :

W = 14.8 inches; H = 4.4 inches

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