Bamana door lock (Front view)
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Item : Bamana door lock, Picture : Front view (approx. 17 Kbytes)


This very rare door lock depicts a female figure with a crested complex coiffure. The vertical part forms the body of the figure, the breast and the legs are sculpted. It symbolizes the protective spirit of the family (the guardian spirit, gné) which protects from robbers. Like the majority of the Bamana figures, door locks were traditionally sculpted by blacksmiths. Blacksmiths belong to a caste of highest rank, they are at the same time Masters of fire (work of metal, and knowledge of melting points), and carve the major part of wooden objects.
Wooden door locks were used on the doors of dwellings, cookhouses, and sanctuaries. 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.
Probably middle of the 19th century.

Object #4340

Origin :

Mali (Dioila area)

Type :

Door locks

Ethnic group :

Bamana (Bambara)

Material :

Wood, exceptional and aged patina

Size :

H = 18.8 inches

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