Dogon granary door lock (Front view)
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Item : Dogon granary door lock, Picture : Front view (approx. 23 Kbytes)


This Dogon granary door lock is surmounted by two birds facing each other. It would be a couple of storks (associated with the rainy season and the fertility of growing) or the representation of the ostriches. The ostrich (ogotanala) 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 atop and at the bottom of the vertical beam symbolize both the lebe snake and the fertilizing rain. Note the fine starry motif engraved on the left part of the bolt. It would be the symbol of the Sirius 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.
This remarkable door lock, certainly the work of a great sculptor, was probably used on the shutter of a granary belonging to the lebe sanctuary.
18th / 19th century.

Object #4276

Origin :

Mali (Bandiagara cliffs area, Teli)

Type :

Door locks

Ethnic group :

Dogon

Material :

Wood, remarkably beautiful and aged patina

Size :

H = 10.3 inches

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