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Door
Date: Mid-20th century
Medium: Wood
Dimensions: H x W x D: 118.1 x 71.1 x 7.9 cm (46 1/2 x 28 x 3 1/8 in.)
Credit Line: Bequest of Eliot Elisofon
Geography: Côte d'Ivoire
Object Number: 73-7-133
Search Terms:
mask
lizard
bird
equestrian
turtle
leopard
Household
Object is not currently on exhibit

Among the northern Senufo peoples, doors carved in low relief were signs of wealth and social status. In earlier times they were taken as booty in wars between villages. The designs most often refer to divination, bush spirits and sources of power. The central design is adapted from the scarification around a woman's navel, which symbolizes the order of the universe as set out by the Creator. Other images suggest symbols of aggression such as the crocodile, human warriors and slave shackles.

Rectangular door with upper and lower registers of human figures carved in relief. Upper register relief (left to right) shows man with gun, equestrian figure holding a sword, standing figure, hornbill bird, and a snake. The lower register relief (left to right) shows equestrian figure with sword, turtle, and a hornbill bird. The central square section is divided into four triangular sections with center navel motif. The top section has a kpelie face mask flanked by a bird and a figure. The right section has a representation (nonfunctional) of a doorlock in low relief. The lower section has a running animal, and left section low relief crocodile.

Eliot Elisofon, New York, -- to 1973


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