African doors have various uses within a tribe’s society. Some uses are as simple as a physical closure to their home or granaries, doors are created and exchanged as gifts for birthdays, marriages, tokens of luck and rites of passage bequests. When used as a part of the architecture, as a door or shutter, in a private abode, through the use of symbols they are used to describe the occupation of the person or that persons persona or status in the village. It can also be served as a sign to taxpayers, letting them know which form of payment was accepted in the adjoining building. The symbolic styling of the doors can vary. Within some tribes styling, pairs of breasts, representing femininity and fertility are found, and also carved guards for security, not only from other tribe’s people but from bugs and rodents that may infiltrate their granaries, animals for strength and power and ancestral figures for remembrance.
The door lock may also be part of the door structure. These locks can be as elaborate as the doors themselves or as plain and simple as the door it adorns. Not every door will have a lock and made be held closed or shut using only a simple piece of rope or string or even more simply just wedged to keep it shut.
The simple and straight forward style of the Dogon door lock allows the door of either a home or granary to be held closed keeping it safe and secure. Door locks found on granary doors give us a wonderful insight into the symbolic use of animal and figurative imagery in an abstract way
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.
Provenance: Ex Seward Kennedy Collection. A striking design feature of Dogon architecture are the carved shutters, doors and doorways which portray ancestral figures to protect the people and property inside.
Dogon doors are used simply to close an opening to their homes, safe stores of tribal pieces etc and adobe granaries in which the Dogon store their grain. The figures on granary doors protect the grain inside from mould, insects and all other threats.
A stunning and unusual styled Dogon door depicting the 8 ancestors being a mirror image. The lock consists of an abstract style head on top and rows of zig zags underneath representing the "flowing of water" in Dogon terminology. Underneath the lock there is lighter carvings in the form of a fish which the Dogon relate to the Nommo.
A stunning and large Bamana door lock collected in 1958 by Jean-François Maurel and dated to 1935. Jean-François Maurel (died March 18, 2015) is palaeographer archivist.
A beautiful, rare and old Dogon door featured with the scene of the Pale Fox. This Dogon door is from the Bandiagara region, it has a nice wear patina (door pegs and evidence of ritual use due to its heavy encrusted patina where millet is used (thrown at the door) over a period of time. It consists with the 8 ancestors holding their faces with shame.
A fantastic and very old Dogon granary door collected by Jean-François Maurel in 1958. J.F.Maurel was a famous archivist and palaeographer of Africa early 20th Century but sadly died March 18, 2015. This is just one of many beautiful items he had collected over his years in Africa. This is a stunning and old piece of art, it is dating back to mid-later 19th Century. It is very weathered and worn and a stress crack has been repaired and made stable by iron bindings / nails.