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Door with Lock

Arts of Africa

Decorated doors are found throughout West Africa, each area having its own distinct style. Often such doors mark the homes of important people, such as rulers or religious leaders. This door, darkened from years of use, is ornamented with a carefully balanced combination of curvilinear and angular designs. The attached lock is decorated to match the door.

CULTURE Gurunsi
MEDIUM Wood, iron
  • Place Made: Africa
  • DATES late 19th or early 20th century
    DIMENSIONS Other: 58 x 28 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. (147.3 x 72.4 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 1994.92
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Drs. Israel and Michaela Samuelly
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Gurunsi. Door with Lock, late 19th or early 20th century. Wood, iron, Other: 58 x 28 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. (147.3 x 72.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Drs. Israel and Michaela Samuelly, 1994.92. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1994.92_SL1.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 1994.92_SL1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Door cut from buttress root of tree with attached two piece door lock. Numerous shallow intaglio designs carved into surface of door including the following: three triangles roughly three inches to a side and pointing up, arranged in band across top register. Two sets of opposing 'v' forms arranged below triangles on right and left sides of door, each forming an 'x'. Four shallow curved grooves in roughly semicircular pattern crossing near top of door between triangles. Two similar sets of grooves forming two semicircles along left side of door. Two more meet at center of door near bottom and fan out to either side of door meeting edge about twelve inches from bottom. Door lock attached to door with two iron pins penetrating door on proper right side. Lock (probably representing a turtle) consists of a block with slightly convex front surface and slightly concave side surfaces. Small knob on upper edge of lock. Cross member has three notches where pins drop to hold it in place (pins now missing). Condition: Surface of door has overall heavy smoked patina.
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    Gurunsi. <em>Door with Lock</em>, late 19th or early 20th century. Wood, iron, Other: 58 x 28 1/2 x 1 1/2 in. (147.3 x 72.4 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Drs. Israel and Michaela Samuelly, 1994.92. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1994.92_SL1.jpg)