The Dogon describe the cosmos as two disks forming the sky and earth connected by a tree. The supporting figures represent the four pairs of nommo twins in their descent from sky to earth. These spiritual beings were involved in the creation of man and culture. The zigzag patterns suggest the path of their descent and flowing water and refer to the symbol of Lébé, the first human and priest who was transformed into a serpent after his death.
The dots of red, white and black pigment on the backs of the figures and on the center post are unusual. While Dogon masks have painted designs, figures and stools generally have encrusted or eroded surfaces indicative of ritual use.