The toguna (sheltered meeting place) is the site where the men
elders meet to discuss maters of the village ; this is also a
place where the word of experienced men makes law. The toguna
consists of an open structure with vertical elements (in most cases,
and ideally, eight posts) that support a thatched roof. In the cliffs
area, the posts may be mud brick (see picture). The roof is low so
that the men inside must remain seated in discussion. The thatch is
ideally composed of eight tiers. The tiers refer, as do the
toguna posts, to the eight ancestral nommo.
Toguna posts, like much with other Dogon objects, are
decorated with a dege (a protective spirit). It is the domain
of men, but its posts often exhibit female or sexual imagery. Here a
highly stylized female relief-carved, symbol of fertility and
reaffirming women's role as a pillar of society.
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