Bamana door lock (Front view)

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

This door lock depicts a female figure and a butterfly (mpérémpéréni). According the legend, God (pemba) originally created the butterfly as both a large and an important creature. Overcome by pride and vanity, the butterfly offended pemba, who in turn reduced it to a small and fragile creature. The butterfly represents also the deity mouso koroni (who tried to be God's equal) and her offenses against the creator God.
The body is incised with geometrical patterns. The head is surmounted by two protuberances symbolizing the butterfly's wings. The recessed and inverted triangular shape at the base of the vertical part represents the head of the python (mignan), a symbol of pemba.

Each lock is given a name in accordance with its message, person, myth, or any anecdote referred to. Door locks were a prized gift for young brides, and passed down from generation to generation.

19th century or earlier.

Object #2138

Origin :


Type :

Door locks

Ethnic group :

Bamana (Bambara)

Material :

Wood and iron, old brown patina from use

Size :

H = 18.1 inches

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