Dogon Granary Door
These doors protected the window-like opening into each family’s grain storage building.
Approx Age: Early 20th Century
Dimensions cm: 82 peg to peg 54 wide
Ref. Number: 1481
A simple but lovely Dogon granary door, the discolouration and wood crazing on the lower half of the door shows where the sun has beat on it daily where the top shows where there has been shade. Large metal staples have been fixed to prevent the door from cracking and a small hole where the door was most likely to be fastened shut. Authentic Dogon granary door with signs of significant use. The depiction of breasts, symbolising fertility and prosperity. The bespoke stand is also part of the sale price.
Provenance: Ex-Uk private collection. Exhibited: Tribal Art London Exhibition 2022.
The Dogon inhabit the large austere Bandiagara plateau, with most of the villages situated on cliffs to the north and the east. At first hunters, they now cultivate their staple diet millet, and also sorghum, and wheat on the cliff tops, which they have had to convert due to the scarcity of water sources. The Dogon are among African cultures that have remained closest to their ancestral traditions.
One such tradition is building granaries and houses for grain storage. Doors of these granaries are often adorned with impressive carvings of the Dogon primordial beings, ancestors, Kanaga masks, sun lizards and scenes of life symbolically served to protect the entrance by making it sacred, which serve as invocations of deities or spirits, or as symbols of status. The stored grain is considered “safe” when it is guarded by the ancestors whose images are depicted on granary doors. The depiction of breasts, symbolising fertility and prosperity, is also a common motif on various types of doors.
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