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Dogon Door Lock Africa Art Collection

Product #: 132569
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Title Dogon Door Lock Africa Art Collection
Type of Object Door Lock
Country of Origin Mali
People Dogon
Materials Wood, metal
Approximate Age 20th century
Dimensions Height: 12 Inches
Width: 10 Inches
Overall Condition Good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.

Additional Information:

A figural door lock, or Ta Koguru, from the Dogon showing evidence of use and good age!

The seated male figure and his wife is a common theme in Dogon Art reflecting their view of the necessary relationship between men and women to insure continuity and life. What is interesting about this seated figures is that not only are they well carved figures  but  the object has  served a practical function as it once was part of a doorlock!

Living in small villages on the plain at the foot of the great Bandiagara escarpment the Dogon farm in an environment that is marginal and demanding. As subsistence farmers they depend upon the food they produce to live storing it in granaries made of mud with thatched roofs and carved doors providing access to the foodstuffs held in the granary. Numerous granaries attest not only to the need to store food but equally reflect family structures as each wife will have her own granary where personal objects as well as family shrines are kept. Openings into the granary were sealed by carved doors or panels on which figures of humans, animals or of symbolic motifs were carved in relief onto the surface of the door. The doors had pointed corners that served as hinges and a sculpted wooden lock to keep it closed.Dogon door locks (ta koguru) were composed of two parts: one was a fixed vertical element (such as this) known as ta koro, which were most often carved with human or animal figures fixed to the door with iron staples. The second part of the door lock is a horizontal wooden piece called ta dagu that slides through the vertical piece where iron teeth would fall would fall into small holes locking the door. A small key would lift the iron pegs to open the door. And in this example the inventive Dogon carver sculpted the seated male-female figures so that the sliding locking bar passed just behind the bent legs of the seated figures. This is inventive and the mark of a creative Dogon carver to ally traditional sculpture to a functional service.Traditional (real) Dogon sculpture is difficult to acquire and this is a fine and interesting example of Dogon carving rarely seen today.

From the Collection of Robert Pearson, Denver, Colorado

Bob Pearson began collecting African art later in his life.  He was a n engineer, inveterate climber, and long-time collector of books and paintings.  Spurred by the Douglas Society at the Denver Museum of Art, and his friendship with noted collector George Heggarty, he began building an enormous, eclectic collection. His African art library grew to several hundred books.  He loved textiles and “material culture”-things which had domestic use, like spoons, cups, stools, and chairs, as well as masks and carvings.  His collection included items from more than thirty African countries, and his fine eye gave him pieces ranging from a golddust scale to huge Dogon figural ladders.  Africa Direct is honored to have been chosen to sell them.