The Art of Burkina Faso

by Christopher D. Roy
University of Iowa

Door Locks:

The Kurumba area is one of the very few regions where it is still possible to see wooden door locks being used in a traditional context. Throughout the region, the small doors of granaries are secured with locks that have a wooden female figure as the central vertical member. These small locks represent protective spirits that watch over the contents of the granary and protect the millet, sorghum, and maize from rot, damage by insects and rodents, and theft. More rarely, large locks are used to secure the doors of Kurumba homes, but most of these have been replaced with chains and European padlocks, as, with increased contact with non-African culture, the need for physical protection has supplanted the effectiveness of spiritual protection.