Palm Wood Beams (Toron)

Toron Beams, Kotaka, Mali

Palm Wood Beams (toron)

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Bundles of palm wood beams play a number of structural roles in the walls and ceilings of Mali's mosques. Particularly on the most decorative facades, generally the mosque's qibla wall, masons extend the beam ends beyond the facade itself, forming a scaffolding of regularly spaced beams. The arrangement enables masons to easily repair damaged facades with a fresh coating of banco, but the even spacing of toron along a facade also lends an additional aesthetic dimension to the mosque. These dual practical and aesthetic elements are apparent in the image of toron projecting outward above an ornate window opening at Kotaka's Great Mosque (left).

Mosque Design Elements
Palm Wood Beams (Toron)