Bamana door lock (Three quarters view)
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Item : Bamana door lock, Picture : Three quarters view (approx. 11 Kbytes)


This very rare door lock depicts a crocodile (bama). The vertical part forms the body of the animal. It symbolizes the protective spirit of the family (the guardian spirit) which protects from robbers. The crocodile is also the totemic animal of the kore secret society, the guardian of faro's waters, and symbolizes fertility, wealth and good fortune. This mythical crocodile was the first to stow away the ark of creation in faro's pond, and thus is in close relationship with this deity. 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.
In the past, the representation of « prohibited » or dangerous animals, like the crocodile, was regarded as the sign of a great protective force. These animals could not be killed, eaten, nor even touched.
19th century.

Object #4370

Origin :

Mali (Bougouni area)

Type :

Door locks

Ethnic group :

Bamana (Bambara)

Material :

Wood, very fine age-old use patina

Size :

H = 30.7 inches

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