Dogon granary shutter (Front view)
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Item : Dogon granary shutter, Picture : Front view (approx. 41 Kbytes)


This granary shutter, with a great variety of iconographic symbols, is carved with four rows of chevrons symbolizing both the fertilizing water of growing and the nommo ancestors as they fell to the earth in the form of rain. Two rows are engraved with alternating X and circles patterns. What is unusual about these engravings is not only their diversity, but also their relationships to one another, as in a regular sequence. Circles would be both the symbol of the original seed () and of the amma placenta. Their association with the chevrons speaks of the rainy season and agricultural fertility. The sequential would represent the vibration of the original matter in the placenta, which gave birth to the first human being, the nommo anagonno (a fish). On the right side of the shutter, six nommo figures are represented, four females and two males.
The lock depicts the water tortoise (kiru), symbolic of the placenta of the nommo. Locks with this unique figure are often affixed to the granaries holding the harvest of a hogon's fields. The hogon is the spiritual leader of the village, and play a key role in mediating disputes, dispensing justice, counteracting sorcery, and maintaining the delicate relationship between man and a pantheon of ancestral and nature spirits.
Shutters primarily protect the contents of the granaries by their symbolic presence. Sculpted by the blacksmith of the village for the hogon (spiritual chief) and notables, shutters are one of the major elements of Dogon art.
18th / 19th century.

Object #4280

Origin :

Mali (Yougo Dogorou, Bandiagara cliffs)

Type :

Architectural components

Ethnic group :

Dogon

Material :

Dense brownish wood, crusty aged patina

Size :

W = 16.5 inches; H = 17.8 inches

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