Dogon granary door lock (Front view)
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Item : Dogon granary door lock, Picture : Front view (approx. 20 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 chevrons engraved on the left side of the bolt symbolize both the lebe snake and the fertilizing rain.
This remarkable door lock, with both pure and harmonious forms, was probably used on the shutter of a granary belonging to the lebe sanctuary.
18th / 19th century.

Object #4272

Origin :

Mali (Bandiagara cliffs, Sangha area)

Type :

Door locks

Ethnic group :

Dogon

Material :

Wood, remarkably beautiful and aged patina

Size :

H = 8.6 inches

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