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Ogotemmeli - The Smith and the Potter



Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

Conversations with Ogotommeli (An Introduction to Dogon Religious ideas) – Professor Marcel Griaule

Pottery was born in the smithy.  The smith’s wife was drying in the sun a pot which she had modelled like one of the spheres of the bellows; but finding it did not harden quickly enough, she put it in the fire.  She then discovered that the clay was baking and becoming hard and so she got into the habit of putting the pots she modelled by the fire.  She worked on a small square mat woven with eighty strings on a warp of the same number.  First she made a rough model shaped like a section of an inverted cone, into which she threw with considerable force a round pebble, which made a bed for itself in the clay, and this became larger and larger until finally it took the shape of a sphere.  When the inside surface of the clay was pressed it took the pattern of the mat.  Women today copy the processes of the mythical potteress; but the craft is no longer the prerogative of the wives of smiths.  Any woman can be a potter if she wishes.

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