Bamana Door Lock Mali
A wooden door lock attributed to the Bamana. This example shows much handling and good age. Lock still fits together snugly.
Bamana door locks are composed of two parts: one is a fixed vertical element which is most often carved with abstract, human or animal form fixed to the door with iron staples. The second part of the door lock is a horizontal wooden piece that slides through the vertical piece where iron teeth would fall into small holes locking the door.
The doors had pointed corners that served as hinges and a sculpted wooden lock to keep it closed. A small key would lift the iron pegs to open the door. The sliding locking bar passed just behind the vertical part. The face on this door lock is carved in a Bamana style and recalls Bamana figures identified as representations of an ancestor, which presence is required to ensure protection and prevent the intrusion of bad spirits and sorcerers.
For similar examples and further information see LEGENDS, SORCERESS AND ENCHANTED LIZARDS-DOOR LOCKS OF THE BAMANA OF MALI; see also BAMANA THE ART OF EXISTENCE IN MALI, By Colleyn J.P.(e.d.)