Aduno Koro (Ritual Container)

By: Adenike Cosgrove Tagged:

The Dogon reside in remote villages, sheltered by rugged cliffs running along the Niger River.

In this harsh and arid landscape, it is a struggle for Dogon farmers to work the land and provide food for their communities. This makes a successful harvest a cause for much celebration.

To show their gratitude, each year after the harvest is reaped, the Dogon engage in a ceremony known as goru — meaning abundance, humidity, and richness.

The aduno koro (also called vageu bana in some sources, meaning ‘dish of the ancestors’) is a vital part of this ritual. The Dogon believe that Creator Amma sent an ark from heaven to populate the earth. It contained everything considered essential to life.

The aduno koro (meaning 'ark of the world') represents that ark. The Dogon place raw meat in the vessel to be ‘sacrificed’ at family altars throughout the region. Throughout the rest of the year, these ritual vessels are kept by the head of the family.

Distinguishing Features

  • Monumental receptacle (some over six feet long)
  • Carved from single piece of wood
  • Rectangular box
  • Hollowed-out interior
  • Horse head and tail, sculpted on the ends of vessel
  • Stylised figures (and rarely, geometric decorations) carved in relief on sides of vessel
  • Crocodile separates squatting ancestor figures (represents 'ayo geu', a black crocodile)
  • Flat-bottomed

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