Antique African Hand-Carved Wooden Pestle On Stand
Up until very recently, Dogon women engaged in an essential daily activity, using a mortar and pestle to pound millet, a staple of the Dogon diet. Millet has been consumed by humans for over 7,000 years and had a pivotal role in the rise of agricultural and farming societies. The size of the stick at over 5 feet is a testament to the strength and effort required to transform the grain into something edible.
In Dogon society, at the time of an individual's death, his or her life is celebrated through long orations commemorating accomplishments in the field and home. In such speeches, women are likened to a favorite wooden stick that has been worn down because of its extensive use, a reference to the endless work performed for the benefit of one's family.
This stick is not merely a tool. While finely etched carvings serve a practical purpose to increase grip, their symbolic intent should not be overlooked. A principal tenet of Dogon thought is that one thing may imply several meanings depending upon a viewer's level of knowledge and life experience. Millet and other grains feature prominently in Dogon beliefs governing the Universe's origin and the creation of humankind. The carving on such an instrument would have been conceived with meaning in mind.
The rich patina of this Dogon is a testament to its decades of repeat use. It can be beautifully displayed vertically on an iron stand or horizontally on a wall, perhaps even as a focal point in a dining or living room - an homage to the significance of that which nourishes us.
This robust example of the Dogon wooden pestle measures 59.5" high, 10" wide and 6" deep.