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Mark Dike DeLancey

[Jenne] [Friday Mosque]

Malian mosque that was built in 1906–7 in the Sudanese style under the direction of master mason Ismaïla Traoré. Local historical traditions state that a mosque was first built on this site in the 12th century, replacing the palace of Djenné’s ruler Koi Konboro after he converted to Islam. By the turn of the 20th century the mosque was in ruins.

The mosque’s heavy earthen walls (see fig.) are inset with wooden timbers that act as scaffolding for replastering, while numerous pilasters create a sense of verticality. The horizontal emphasis of the eastern qibla wall is broken by three huge towers, creating a rhythmic alternation of reserved horizontal wall surfaces and projecting vertical towers. Towers in the centre of the north and south walls provide rooftop access for the call to prayer via internal staircases. A monumental entrance on the north side is composed of three projecting pillars enclosing two deep recesses. Seven projections at the top of the portal echo the tops of the pilasters extending beyond the roofline of the mosque walls....