Batammaliba information sheet.doc

Batammaliba information sheet.doc - 1Batammaliba (Somba)...

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1Batammaliba (Somba) architecture: the Humanization of Space Batammaliba live in a mountainous (Atacora mountains) savanna area along the border between the modern states of Togo and Benin Thought to have arrived in their present location in the 17th or 18th centuries from the southeastern corner of Burkina Faso Closely related to Voltaic peoples including the Dogon Culture values self reliance, independence and an egalitarian political structure (earth priest's power balances that of family elders) Batammaliba identity intertwined with architecture Name means: "those who are the real architects of the earth" Men create actual structure, women complete it by plastering Architects are among the most revered members of society and each architect undertakes one structure per dry season (Dec. to Feb.) aided by the house's owner and family - architects sign their work using a design of geometric shapes and black and white chicken feathers Talent: is inherited from a deceased elder sponsor in the other world 3 groups of architects: master builders - receive and keep payment for their design work - enforce adherence to traditional designs and standards middle level architects - have completed between 1 and 10 structures -their payments are turned over to the elders of their families apprentices - not paid Houses Ideal house built on a site that has been previously occupied - these locations have the richest soils and are free of dangerous spirits Consecration rituals establish first links between new house and human beings - these are: 1) architect signs house 2) architect places stone doorsill (preferably from family's old house) into the house entryway a) first takes a wet ball of earth that has previously been placed on the tomb of his own ancestral sponsor and incorporates this into the doorsill b) faces east (the rising sun) and slices through the wet earth of the entryway marking the doorway c) lowers stone doorsill three times towards its eventual position before letting fall in place - this 3 time presentation is modelled on human rites of passage e.g. a new baby is held out towards its mother 3 times before it is actually placed in her arms 3) architect sets the "crosspiece of the deceased elder," a beam that
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2Batammaliba (Somba) architecture: the Humanization of Space has been saved from the family's previous house and that helps to hold up the house terrace (see lower diagram in handout), in place - this brings the spirits of deceased family members into the new house "The House is like a Human ." earth = flesh water used to moisten earth = blood pebbles = bones smooth, clay-plaster surface = skin
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Batammaliba information sheet.doc - 1Batammaliba (Somba)...

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