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
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.
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