Ninandé (Sun Shelter Post)

By: Adenike Cosgrove Tagged:


Mossi communities are typically divided into two groups—nakomsé rulers (relatives of the village chief, the Naba) and nyonyosé farmers. Each Mossi kingdom houses a compound (samandé) for the Naba, within which an ancestor shrine, the chief's home and a large sun shelter are contained. The large sun shelter is made up of rows of between nine to twelve posts (called ninana) that hold up a straw roof.

During the annual na-poosum (meaning 'greet the chief') ceremony, male elders of each given kingdom gather under the sun shelter, to pay respects to their Naba by offering some of the harvest from their fields. During the ceremony, elders whose families were provided wives by the Naba, also offer a ninana sun shelter post as a gift to the chief. The posts are a visible sign of the family's commitment in providing a daughter in the future for the Naba to pass on to another family.

NOTE: According to Christopher Roy, "except dolls, all Mossi figures, regardless of size, sex, function or material, are called ninandé (sing., ninana), which simply means 'modelled figures'".2

Distinguishing Features

  • Made of hardwood
  • Height = 63 - 79 inches
  • Forked top ends (to support beams)
  • Usually decorated with stacks of geometric rings (stylised brass bracelets, kobré, worn by Mossi wives of chiefs)
    • Rare elaborate examples are carved as full female figures
    • Upper part of post weathered (from sun, rain and wind exposure)
  • Typically buried quarter to third of length in ground for years
    • Lower buried portion deteriorated from insect infestation

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