----- Original Message -----
Sent: Friday, August 19, 2005 10:24
Subject: Re: [African_Arts] a Mysterious
Dogon stone idol ~ any ideas?
I found the book and did a little reading. There wasn't any specific
mention in there of stone sculpture and it's purpose or meaning, but from what
I can gather, the very small stone pieces were probably a variation on the
figures that were used in the 'kutogolo' altars. These were atlars dedicated
to an individual and not ancestors.
My personal opinion is that the very small stone objects,
like yours and some of the ones on the page I posted, were used by hunters and
they carried them with them as a source of personal strength and protection.
It would make sense because they are made out of stone and are very durable.
That's just my opinion that I formulated based on what I read and my personal
Below is the text about the kutogolo altars:
In addition to altars dedicated to the ancestors,
some Dogon figures are placed on altars made to augment and strengthen a
living individual's personal force, or nyama. One such altar is the kutogolo,
which is dedicated to a person's own head, ku, the seat of his or her thought
and will. The kutogolo consists of a ball of earth mixed with seeds into which
iron hooks, clay pots, and occasional small wooden figures are stuck
(Dieterlen, 1941: 77-79, pi. XIc). The bala is an altar made for a left-handed
person, who is believed to have special powers in his or her left hand. These
altars, too, are made of balls of earth into which small wooden figures, some
of them with raised arms, are stuck along with iron hooks and bracelets
(Dieterlen, 1941: 83-84, pi. Xld; N'Diaye, 1972: n. 11). Both kutogolo and
bala altars are kept in the niches in the facade ofaginna, or in the corner of
a storeroom. Some Dogon blacksmiths and hunters also have individual altars,
which often include figurative sculpture (Paris, Musee Guimet, 1959: 116;
Dieterlen, 1965: 15).
I have posted this text, as well as a good general description
of Dogon statues on the page linked below. The text is towards the bottom of
I am missing one of my best Dogon reference books at the moment, but I
found some similar stone objects in the book "Dogon Cliff Dwellers" and I've
posted them on a page on my site.
There was really no information about the objects, what they are
called, and how they were used. I thought you might like to at least see
some other examples.
If I find my other book and find more infomation I will let you
Here is a link to the page:
Rand African Art
I can't say that I have ever seen a figure like that, so I can't
provide any information. I have several great books on the Dogon though
and I will look through them and see if I can come up with anything.
Todd and Lina <lina1@...>
I have acquired an Old stone idol collected In Mopti , Mali
professor friend who is studying the Art of African
There is little history to offer , but what I would
like to know is
if anyone has seen similar objects or know of such a
the dogon for such fetish , do they have a
name? a specific purpose?
has anyone elseacquired anything
It is a bit of a mystery to myself and my friend
, and I thought I
would put the question to this most informative
Thanks for looking , images in folder "dogon stone
all the best -Todd from
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