Dogon Door of Shame (SOLD)

  • Tribe: Dogon
  • Origin: Mali
  • Approx Age: at the most mid 20th Century
  • Materials: wood, earthy encrusted patina
  • Dimensions cm: 55 tall x 30 wide
  • Ref. Number: 0422

A beautiful and old Dogon door featured with the scene of the Pale Fox. This Dogon door is from the Bandiagara region, collected and previously owned by a French collector. It has a nice wear patina on the 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. This subject is a scene from the Dogon cosmogony referring to Pale Fox who committed the primordial incest and the door is framed with a decoration of chevrons which is said to represent longevity. This door would have been carved for someone of seniority as the scene is rare to find on a Dogon door.

Dogon granary Door Shutter

PALE FOX was an unnatural and socially disruptive creature born out of the first mating of Amma and Mother Earth. All
divine children were born as twins with a male and female counterpart; however, the pale fox was born without placenta
and did not have a female twin. That is why he is a symbol of loneliness. The myths of the pale fox tell about the chaos
that resulted from an imbalance of male and female qualities.

Dogon Granary Door


The Dogon have an animist religion, which means that they believe that all natural objects and forces have a living soul.
In the world of the Dogon people, everything has meaning and significance. For example, the Baobab is a sacred tree which can never be cut or sold; the fox, the snake, and the crocodile are sacred animals that have a place in Dogon mythology and may never be killed.

This information above I have found on a website which I agree with apart from the Baobab tree never to be cut! The Dogon do use the branches of the Baobab tree for carving of sacred figures and masks but before the cutting of a branch a prayer is spoken over the tree and something of value is buried at the bottom of the trunk for sacrifice. This is a link to a very informative documentary on the Dogon done by Griff Rhys Jones.

Dogon social and religious organizations are closely interlinked and out of this arose principal cults, which accounts for the richness and diversity of Dogon culture and art. The clans are subdivided onto lineages, overseen by the patriarch, guardian of the clan’s ancestral shrine and officiant at the totemic animal cult. Beside this hierarchical system of consanguinity, male and female associations are entrusted with the initiations that take place by age group, corresponding to groups of newly circumcised or excised boys or girls. The Dogon believe these operations remove the female element from males and vice versa. Circumcision thus creates a wholly male or female person prepared to assume an adult role. The members of an age group owe one another assistance until the day they die. Initiation of boys begins after their circumcision, with the teaching of the myths annotated by drawings and paintings. The young boys will learn the place of humans in nature, society, and the universe. In the Dogon pantheon Amma appears as the original creator of all the forces of the universe and of his descendant Lebe, the god of plant rebirth. The first Dogon primordial ancestors, called Nommo, were bisexual water gods. They were created in heaven by the creator god Amma and descended from heaven to earth in an ark. The Nommo founded the eight Dogon lineages and introduced weaving, smithing, and agriculture to their human descendants.

Dogon Granary Door of Shame Pale Fox