The vertical section of this door lock comprises a stylised female figure.
The form of and motifs employed in Bamana door locks usually are invested with symbolic messages despite their formal simplicity. These messages, both in abstract and representational imagery, can be deeply personal. The stylized figure is usually a representation of an ancestor whose presence is required to ensure protection from bad spirits or sorcery. An addition of animal representation such as the butterfly enhances the power of the ancestors and therefore provides additional protection. The presence on the door of a lock representing a woman was also believed to prevent the men from being unfaithful to their wives.
Such locks were given as gifts to young brides and symbolised sexual intercourse: a vertical female figure with a moving ‘male’ horizontal bolt. They were passed from generation to generation. The locks tended to be given names according to the message, ancestor or story to which their form and motifs referred.
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- 38×7×5 cm