Bamana door lock (Front view)
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Item : Bamana door lock, Picture : Front view (approx. 19 Kbytes)


This important door lock, depicting a female figure, was probably attached to the door of the enclosed area of the men's house (ty so). The presence on the door of a lock representing a woman was believed to prevent the man from being unfaithful to his wives. It is unusual that the breasts, the navel and the legs appear. The face is surmounted by a headdress reminiscent of the Bamana masks of the n'tomo initiation society.

Like the majority of the Bamana figures, door locks (called konbalabala) were traditionally sculpted by the blacksmiths who belong to a caste of the highest rank. They are at the same time masters of fire (working with metal and understand melting points) and of wood, who carve the majority of wooden objects used by their people. Each lock is given a name in accordance with its message, person, myth, or any anecdotal reference (here the n'tomo secret society).
19th century or earlier.

Object #2093

Origin :

Mali (Kolokani area)

Type :

Door locks

Ethnic group :

Bamana (Bambara)

Material :

Wood, with a honey-colored patina derived from significant use

Size :

H = 21.2 inches

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