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    Description

    DOGON GRANARY SHUTTER
    (MALI, WESTERN AFRICA)

    Dogon wood shutters consist of wood planks carved with an adze, whose marks are still visible on the backs. Outer sides are decorated, usually with rows of stylized ancestor figures. The component planks are joined with iron staples at the top and bottom. Shutters, like doors, turn on upper and lower wood pins seated in corresponding holes in door frames. Care is taken with the carvings on doors or shutters because all entrances, whether to granaries or houses, are vulnerable transition points to be guarded by the protective images of ancestors. Older doors and shutters bear rows of tightly-packed, highly stylized ancestors who lack gender distinction.

    The present granary shutter, made of two planks, is divided into quadrants that feature fewer but more detailed representations of ancestors, now with facial details and rounded abdomens but still lacking gender differentiation. Here they flank carvings of kanaga masks on the proper upper left and lower right and walu antelope masks on the proper lower left and upper right. Kanaga masks appear at the funerals of men's society members and walu masks protect crops. A diagonal symmetry of form and meaning is established. This type of arrangement appears to be of more recent origin. It injects variety into the older stylized rows of ancestor figures. Diagonal symmetry is imperfect, however, since some lizards have replaced ancestor figures on the upper and lower panels of the proper right plank. The lizards probably derive from Dogon mythology.

    The present shutter exhibits obvious weathering and wear on the hinge pins. There is some damage to the lower inside edge of the proper right plank where a piece of wood has split off, freeing half of the hand-forged staple. Erosion has also made a small hole in one place on the upper, inside part of the proper right plank. All of the wear and erosion is indicative of long use.

    Height: 15 inches


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    May, 2015
    15th Friday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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