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
Probably middle of the 19th century.
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