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

This granary lock, with a great variety of iconographic symbols, is surmounted by a couple of nommo, two of the eighth ancestors of the mankind (Dogon myth of creation, tihinle). The vertical beam is sculpted with patterns which evoke the fields and the water (terrestrial space and fertility), guarded by a crocodile ayo. The crocodile represents the animal that once belonged to the ancestor binu serou (the water element). Chevrons which are engraved symbolize water and fertility, and also the spiritual being nommo of binu serou in water and rain. This lock was used by the totemic priest of the binu cult for sealing his granary. The close association of such lock with vital food supplies harvested from binu fields means that it also symbolizes binu serou himself. The binu cult links the living to those early ancestors who are immortal.

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 (see pictures). Each lock is given a name in accordance with its message, person, myth, or any anecdote referred to. Door locks were passed down from generation to generation.
19th century.

Object #4290

Origin :

Mali (Bandiagara cliffs, Ireli)

Type :

Door locks

Ethnic group :


Material :

Wood, metal, natural gray aged patina

Size :

H = 13.3 inches

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