Door lock

African, Dogon peoples, Mali
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified

Object Place: Mali


Height x width: 39.7 x 37 x 4 cm (15 5/8 x 14 9/16 x 1 9/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Wood, nails

Not On View


Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art


Decorative arts

Many Dogon locks allude to a myth that relates how the god Amma made the world from clay and created the first pair of living beings-nommo. This lock, its torso surmounted by a schematic head, may belong to a relatively rare type depicting a single nommo. Another interpretation suggests that its top part represents a hitching post for a horse, a proud possession for a well-to-do Dogon man.


1970s, acquired in Bamako, Mali by Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart