Dogon granary door lock (Three quarters view)
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Item : Dogon granary door lock, Picture : Three quarters view (approx. 19 Kbytes)


This Dogon granary door lock is surmounted by a slender-shaped bird. It would be both a stork (associated with the rainy season and the fertility of growing) and the representation of the ostrich (ogotanala). The latter is known for its zigzag course when running. This zigzagging is symbolic of the lebe snake because it replicates his movements. These bird's and snake's movements are also similar to those of the nommo as they fell to earth in the form of rain. Lebe, or lebe serou, symbolizes the earth and the first hogon (spiritual and temporal leader of the Dogon). Part human and part supernatural, metamorphosed into a snake (it is in this form that lebe is believed to exist today), lebe introduced death to the world. He visits the hogon, licks his body, and in so doing gives him and all humanity the strength to live. For the Dogon, lebe is the mainspring of germination and the source of vital life force.
The central element represents the frontage of the lebe sanctuary. Note the fine starry engravings on the left part of the bolt and on the vertical beam. It would be the symbol of Sirius and its satellite of which the eclipse is closely connected with the sigui ceremonies. The sigui is a dance festival celebrated only once in every sixty years to assure the renewal of the world. Circles would be both the symbol of the original seed () and of the amma placenta. Their association with the chevrons, placed on the upside, speaks of the rainy season and agricultural fertility. This association would represent the vibration of the original matter in the placenta, which gave birth to the first human being, the nommo anagonno (a fish). What is unusual about these engravings is not only their diversity, but also their relationships to one another.
This remarkable door lock, richly decorated with a multitude of symbols, was probably used on the shutter of a granary belonging to the lebe sanctuary or the hogon.
18th / 19th century.

Object #4257

Origin :

Mali (Bandiagara cliffs, village of Yougo Piri)

Type :

Door locks

Ethnic group :

Dogon

Material :

Wood, metal inlaying, beautiful and aged patina

Size :

H = 11.9 inches

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