The Mud Mosque

India International Centre

The Mud Mosque of Djenné
Illustrated talk
Photographic Exhibition
By Peeyush Sekhsaria
16th January 2013  6:30 pm Conference Room –I
Exhibition: 16 to 22nd January 2013
Chair: Prof. K T Ravindran

India International Centre 40, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi 110003 011 - 24619431

The Mud Mosque of Djenné

Djenné (Mali, West Africa), situated on the river Bani, a tributary of the Niger is an ancient centre of trade, commerce and Islamic learning in the Trans Sahara with a recent uninterrupted history dating back to the 2nd century BC. Along with its better known twin sister city of Timbuctou it was and is considered amongst the most important centres of Islamic learning in black Africa. It is a city built entirely in earth. Thanks to the unique typology of its famous mosque and that of its urban habitat, its contribution to the Sudanese style of architecture is considered as decisive, defining and original. It was classified as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1988.

Based on the plan of the ancient mosque, the Mosque of Djenné, was rebuilt by the French in 1905-07. It is an imposing structure unparalleled in the world. Its front facade of over 60 meters length is dominated by 3 imposing towers with the average wall height varying between 11 and 15 meters. It is built entirely, like the rest of the city in raw earth and it celebrates a unique synergy with the city’s citizens. 

The pride and the attachment of the city to its mosque manifests itself in the most impressive, joyous and mindboggling form in the ceremony of the re-plastering of the mosque carried out by the entire city. This event is organised in a near clockwork fashion every summer. The re-plastering is carried out over two competitive sessions in the space of a week by the inhabitants of the two quarters that make up Djenne.

This talk while built around the narrative of a live witnessing of this famed replastering ceremony will delve on aspects of living heritage, conservation, Mali and the current geo-political situation of the country.

Mud Mosque