A very old and interesting carved wooden female "Tellum" idol with an archaic style face and abstract form, including the "cubist" like hands to the sky which have been simplified into a plank like form.

From the Dogon peoples of Mali, West Africa.

This figure measures 18.5 inches tall ( 20 inches on custom wooden display stand).


Note: This figures bent legs have worn away to the knee/thigh area and it has a sacrificial patina suggesting actual field use as a ritual object.

The Dogon pour Sacrificial liquids onto such sculptures and other ritual objects found on personal altars, ancestral altars, in binu sanctuaries, and specifically on altars dedicated to Nommo, and on yaupilu altars, which are dedicated to the souls of women who died in pregnancy or childbirth. Many different substance are used for sacrifice, including the blood of chickens, sheep, and goats slaughtered for this purpose; millet porridge; mixtures of various fruit and plant juices and pulp with millet flour or flour made from the fruit and seeds of the baobab and ullo trees; and concoctions of burned herbs, charcoal, and shea oil.These sacrificial materials are vehicles for nyama, the vital force that determines a person's mental and physical well-being and allow a person to continue living.


Heavily eroded and evidence of sacrificial patina, sculpture is worn away at the knees.

A Rare Dogon Tellum Idol

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    © 2018 by Todd M Zieseniss.