Tellem granary shutter (Front view)
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Item : Tellem granary shutter, Picture : Front view (approx. 21 Kbytes)

This small granary shutter is carved of a crocodile (ayo) or a tortoise (kiru), and of four nommo figures on its lower part. The crocodile represents the animal that once belonged to the ancestor binu serou (the water element). The tortoise is symbolic of the placenta of the nommo. Chevrons on the upper part symbolize both the fertilizing water of growing and the nommo ancestors as they fell to the earth in the form of rain. This row would represent also the vibrations of the original matter in the amma placenta, which gave birth to the first human being, the nommo anagonno (a fish). The four nommo ancestors, androgynous figures, would be the descendants of the nommo anagonno (three of them were fishes, the fourth one, ogo, became the Pale Fox).
This shutter was affixed on a Tellem granary, in the deserted old village of Teli (see attached pictures). Placed midway up the small granary wall, it provided access to the goods stored inside. The Tellem granaries are four-sided or round, with a structure made of wood and covered with cob. Shutters primarily protect the contents of the granaries by their symbolic presence.
14th / 15th century.

Object #4269

Origin :

Mali (Teli village, Bandiagara cliffs)

Type :

Architectural components

Ethnic group :

Tellem / Dogon

Material :

Densely brownish wood, furrowed patina

Size :

W = 6.1 inches; H = 13.5 inches

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