Dogon door lock (Video)
Three quarters viewDetailIreliMechanismMaps

Contact us, expertise, consulting, exhibition, appointment, …

Return to home page.



To view the movie, please click here.
(file size : 2222 Kbytes bytes)



Please read this before viewing the video :

  • Windows XP users may have to right click on the link above and select "Open in a new window" ;
  • under some circumstances with other Windows flavors, we have noticed that Microsoft Media Player needs to be launched twice to obtain the right display quality, according to the quality we have chosen when producing the movie : if you think you get a nasty rendering, click here to send us an e-mail ;
  • if your computer fails to play this movie, you can click here to send us an e-mail with a description of the problem you encounter and your configuration (i.e. running Windows or Mac or Linux or …) : we will try our best to provide you with a new version of this movie that will play without any problem on your computer ;
  • the size of this movie file is 2222 Kbytes : download time can vary considerably, depending on the bandwith of your Internet connection.


This granary lock, with a great variety of iconographic symbols, depicts in abstract way a couple of nommo, two of the eighth ancestors of the mankind (Dogon myth of creation, tihinle). The pointed horn-like structures atop represent both stylised nommo figures and the horns of the antelope (ka). The vertical beam is sculpted with patterns which evoke the fields and growing (terrestrial space and fertility), guarded by a crocodile ayo (see attached pictures). The crocodile represents the animal that once belonged to the ancestor binu serou (the water element). Double-lined chevrons are engraved around the fields, and symbolize water and fertility, and also the spiritual being nommo of binu serou in water and rain. This lock was used by the totemic priest of the binu cult for sealing his granary. The close association of such lock with vital food supplies harvested from binu fields means that it also symbolizes binu serou himself. The binu cult links the living to those early ancestors who are immortal.

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 passed down from generation to generation.
18th / 19th century.

If you want to know more about this object or send us your remarks, … click here. Please notify us with this object id: 4318.

Object #4318

Origin :

Mali (Bandiagara cliffs, Ireli)

Type :

Door locks

Ethnic group :

Dogon

Material :

Wood, metal, natural gray aged patina

Size :

H = 10.6 inches



All rights reserved for all countries. No part of the contents of this web site may be reproduced without the written permission of the authors · Copyright © ARTHEOS · e-mail : artheos.eng@artheos.org