Bamana door lock (Front view)
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Item : Bamana door lock, Picture : Front view (approx. 20 Kbytes)


This important door lock, depicting a female figure, was probably attached to the door of the enclosed area of the men's house (ty so). The presence on the door of a lock representing a woman was believed to prevent the man from being unfaithful to his wives. The face is surmounted by a headdress reminding the Bamana masks of the n'tomo initiation society.

Like the majority of the Bamana figures, door locks (called konbalabala) were traditionally sculpted by the blacksmiths. They 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. Each lock is given a name in accordance with its message, person, myth, or any anecdote referred to (here the n'tomo secret society).
19th century or earlier.

Object #5094

Origin :

Mali

Type :

Door locks

Ethnic group :

Bamana (Bambara)

Material :

Wood with a very age-old honey-colored patina from use

Size :

H = 19.6 inches

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