The Palace Door Locking Mechanism


This file appears in: Oba's Palace, Benin City, Nigeria
The Palace Door Locking Mechanism
Public Domain

Moving from one courtyard to another in the 19th-century palace usually meant moving through open passages. Lockable doors were present in some areas, however, particularly in those areas with the Oba's personal valuables (coral beads, Ivory jewelry, cloths) and important shrines. The latter were only unlocked after a series of knocks and calling out, in order to alert spirts of entry.

Although some doors were opened by European-style keys, an older locking system used either a bolt or a latch, moved aside by a wire-like key, as the illustration shows.


This file appears in: Oba's Palace, Benin City, Nigeria