Dogon granary door lock (Three quarters view)
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Item : Dogon granary door lock, Picture : Three quarters view (approx. 17 Kbytes)

This very old granary door lock represents the water tortoise (kiru). The water tortoise would be symbolic of the placenta of the nommo, and locks with this unique figure are often affixed to the granaries holding the harvest of a hogon's field. Locks depicting the water tortoise are also affixed to the granary doors of women who capture these reptiles in the bush and keep them in their compounds for purification rites. These rites are associated with the postpartum period and menstruation. However, the legend about the tortoise varies greatly, so it seems unwise to draw too close an analogy with mythological events.

This lock was fitted on a shutter placed midway up the granary wall. It provided access, throughout the year following harvests, to the goods stored inside (millet, sorghum, rice, corn). The Dogon granaries are narrow, four-sided or round, with a structure made of wood and covered with cob, and generally a thatch roof or a terrace roof. Each lock is given a name in accordance with its message, person, myth, or any anecdote referred to.
Probably 18th century.

Object #4259

Origin :

Mali (Bandiagara cliffs, village of Yougo Dogorou)

Type :

Door locks

Ethnic group :


Material :

Wood, deep brown patina

Size :

H = 12.8 inches

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