Dogon door lock (Teli granaries)
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Item : Dogon door lock, Picture : Teli granaries (approx. 29 Kbytes)

This door lock depicts in abstract way the primordial couple which gave birth to the four couples of nommo considered as being the eight ancestors of the mankind (Dogon myth of creation). The pointed horn-like structures atop this lock could represent as well stylised nommo figures or the horns of the antelope (ka). The vertical beam is decorated with incised and pyroengraved patterns which evoke the fields (terrestrial space and fertility) and the center of the universe. Therefore, these patterns are symbolizing water and fertility, and also the spiritual being nommo in water and rain.
This lock would have been used on the door of a binu sanctuary. The binu cult links the living to those early ancestors who are immortal. Locks of this type, representing the antelope, are used on the binu sanctuary doors or granaries of families for whom the animal is a totem.
Wooden door locks were used on the doors of dwellings, cookhouses, sanctuaries, and on granary shutters. Each lock is given a name in accordance with its message, person, myth, or any anecdote referred to. Door locks were a prized gift for young brides, and passed down from generation to generation.
18th / 19th century.

Object #4283

Origin :

Mali (Bandiagara cliffs, Teli area)

Type :

Door locks

Ethnic group :


Material :

Brownish patinated wood

Size :

H = 11.5 inches

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