26 x 16 5/8 x 3 1/4 in. (66 x 42.2 x 8.3 cm)
Bamana; made in Mali
Medium and Support:
Wood and metal
Marion Stratton Gould Fund
Location: Not currently on view
This is a door lock of the Bamana people. Inside the lock, metal pins attach the horizontal and vertical elements. A metal key must be inserted into the hole between the creature’s shoulders to release the pins in the lock. But in truth, the functional value of a Bamana door lock is secondary to its spiritual value. An individual determined to break into a house with a sculpted door lock would find it an easy matter. Bamana door locks are primarily meant to protect a home against malevolent spirit forces seeking entry. This lock is in the form of a crocodile or water iguana. In Bamana mythology, these lizards are representatives of Faro, a powerful and beneficent deity who protects against sorcery.
[Gallery label text, 2009]