(MALI, WESTERN AFRICA)
This tall but relatively narrow door was once probably used on a shrine or a house. It has no provisions for the attachment of a lock. It is composed of two wood panels shaped by an adze, whose marks are still visible on the plain back. A very large, elegant and finely decorated lizard, carved in relief, decorates the front, proper right plank; it perhaps protected against theft. The two planks of the door have been joined in the customary Bamana way with upper and lower small wood crosspieces on both the outside and inside bridging the gap between the planks. Holes drilled between crosspieces and the wood planks between them accommodate wrought iron strips with pointed ends driven through them, the ends then hammered down, inside and out, for a secure fastening. Care was taken in the carving of these wood crosspieces, whose edges are beveled and decorated with serrations. As is usual for plank doors all over Western Africa, elongated pins on the upper and lower edges of the undecorated, proper right plank serve as hinges when inserted into corresponding sockets in the door frame.
There is somewhat more weathering on the lower part of the outer, decorated side of the present door, while the upper part shows less because it was probably sheltered by an overhanging roof. The inside surface is not weathered because it was sheltered. The lower hinge pin naturally shows more wear from use than the upper one because the weight of the door was carried by it.
Height: 71 inches
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