I am often asked about the symbolism behind my carved doors so I decided to write a post about it.
This door is called Ancestral Secrets. It is based on the shape and concept of the Dogon granary doors from Mali. It is a door of protection... protecting whoever or whatever lies behind the door, whether it is grain, wealth, information, knowledge, herbs, medicines, healing secrets, survival secrets, household secrets, precious things, people, family etc.
As in the authentic granary doors, I have rows of ancestor figures to stand guard, to watch over the owner of the door. They also stand as a link between man and God.
The central motive is a metal CROSS and carved wooden FACE.
This type of cross is a universal beware, no entry sign to stop unauthorized people from entering. This includes uninvited guests or intruders .... someone who would steal the secrets.
The face within the cross symbolizes the centre of the world, the NAVEL OF THE EARTH. In Africa a large navel is a sign that a powerful spirit has left the womb. The four arms of this cross symbolize the 4 directions, the 4 corners of the earth as well as the 4 elements.
The central face also stands for the SUN which brings light into the darkness and nurtures life. It is ascribed great healing powers. In Africa (and other countries) offerings are often made to the Sun. I have incorporated the offering bowl into the bird which is flying toward the sun.
Birds are messengers of God. They also stand for fertility, love, clairvoyance, power, danger, discipline, prudence .... and laughter. The pigeon is a symbol of reciprocal love.
The Senufo people consider the snake to be a symbol of rebirth as it sheds it's skin annually. It is also a teacher of healing. Healing within the family ... the tribe. Offerings are often brought to snakes. (See the bird offering bowl opposite the snake)
The keeper of tribal secrets. It is protected by its shell and because it can carry its house of secrets wherever it goes it is considered highly intelligent.
* Key and Lock:-
Secrets are kept under lock and key.
* Arrow heads:-
Another sign of protection.
* Small leather packages :-
Hunters will wear little packages of herbs and magic around their necks or sewn onto their hunting jackets. These will give the hunter protection, strength, courage, wisdom as well as making the hunter invisible to the enemy (or animals they are hunting). I have attached these muti packages to the door to give these qualities to the owner of the door.
* Leather Purse:-
* Black and white patterning:-
Represents the contrasts of dark and light,
good and evil,
male and female,
ignorance and knowledge
White also stands for purity and protection.
* Various markings:-
Record births, deaths, livestock etc.
More about the symbolism here.