Dogon granary door lock (Three quarters view)
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Item : Dogon granary door lock, Picture : Three quarters view (approx. 18 Kbytes)


This very old granary door lock is surmounted by the representation of the antelope mask walu. This mask was used during commemorative ceremonies of dama, every five years. It was accompanied by hundreds of other masked dancers, thus forming an abstract representation of the environment of the Dogon people. The antelope mask is admired by Dogon for its beauty and the strength of its performances. The origin of dama ceremony has close links with the worship of the ancestors (and death), as well as with the balance of the Universe. At the mythical time, masks were first acquired and used to counteract the negative effects of death. By reenacting the behavior of their mythic ancestors, as on this lock, the Dogon strive to restore order to their world after the disruption caused by death.

It 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 a prized gift for young brides, and passed down from generation to generation.
18th / 19th century.

Object #5305

Origin :

Mali (Bandiagara cliffs area)

Type :

Door locks

Ethnic group :

Dogon

Material :

Brownish patinated wood

Size :

H = 12.3 inches

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