A Dogon door for an entrance to a home rather than a smaller door for a granary.
Origin: Bandiagara region of Mali.
Approx Age: 1st quarter 20th Century
Dimensions cm: 135 peg-peg x 56 wide
Ref. Number: 1443
This is a very heavy Dogon door with an interesting design and history, firstly the depiction of the breasts, 4 pairs on top of each other and then 2 other breasts displaced at the top, breasts carved on Dogon doors are symbolic of fertility and prosperity. The hole on the door was said to be to fire arrows through at unwanted callers. The patina around this hole is quite heavy, most possibly another use of opening it daily.
Provenance: Ex- Lampvelden collection, Netherlands. Collected in the early 1970s.
A striking design feature of Dogon architecture is the carved shutters, doors and doorways which portray ancestral figures to protect the people and property inside. They have become 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. They have become collector’s specialist items in recent years and authentic ones of some age are fast disappearing into private collections.
Door locks found on granary doors give us a wonderful insight into the abstract and symbolic use of animal and figural imagery. The representational carvings of ancestors serve to keep spirits at bay and offer protection from worldly and unworldly sources of harm.
Dogon buildings are a unique architecture of sculptural mud-built huts, altars, distinctive tapering granaries for each sex, each with a pointed cap of thatch, and meeting houses (Diakite, 1988; Hollyman & van Beek, 2001). The doors for a granary are small and are 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.
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