Dogon door lock (Front view)
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Item : Dogon door lock, Picture : Front view (approx. 24 Kbytes)


This door lock is surmounted by a single human-like figure, probably a nommo, carved in a circular form. The primordial couple (of nommo or ancestors) is frequently represented on Dogon door locks, as a significant element of their cosmogony. The appearance of only one nommo (as here) is rather rare. The circular form may represent the Earth or a solar symbol.

Like the majority of the Dogon figures, door locks (ta koguru) were traditionally sculpted by blacksmiths. Blacksmiths (called jemene) belong to a caste of highest rank, they are at the same time Masters of fire (work of metal), and carve the major part of wooden objects. 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.

Object #2173

Origin :

Mali (Sangha area, Bandiagara cliffs)

Type :

Door locks

Ethnic group :

Dogon

Material :

Wood, patina from a very age-old use

Size :

H = 11.2 inches

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