African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Tellem
Statue Tellem (N° 19587)
The figures with the raised arms would symbolize a prayer to Amma to grant the rain essential to all life. According to the sources, it was also an act of contrition following the violation of a law that led to a drought. The southern plateau overlooking the Bandiagara cliff has been occupied since the 10th century by the Tellem and Niongom. They were then displaced by the Dogon in the 15th century, who fled the Mandé. The Tellem became the ancestors of Kurumba burkina Faso. The statuary dogon is not easily distinguishable from that of Tellem and that of Niongom because reciprocal influences have manifested themselves over the centuries. A recurrence: the characters with arms raised above the head, in the position of summoning.
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The tribal African statues of the Dogon can also be the object of worship by the entire community when they commemorate, for example, the founding of the village. These statues, sometimes embodying the nyama of the deceased, are placed on the altars of ancestors and participate in various rituals including those of the periods of seeds and harvests. Their functions, however, remain little known. Stylistically influenced by the Tellems they replaced in the Bandiagara region as early as the 15th century, the Dogon adopted the same vertical position in their statuary. Heirs to the works suchm abandoned in the region, they adopted some of them that they resacralized to use in their own rites.
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