Door lock

African, Bamana peoples, Mali
20th century, 1950–2000
Artist Unidentified


Object Place: Mali

Dimensions

Overall: 42.7 x 8.3 x 7.5 cm (16 13/16 x 3 1/4 x 2 15/16 in.) Height x width: 45 1/2 in. (115.6 cm) Lender Accessory: 2.8 cm (1 1/8 in.)

Accession Number

2009.2678

Medium or Technique

Wood

Not On View

Collections

Africa and Oceania, Contemporary Art

Classifications

Decorative arts

This lock’s carving alludes to Bamana esoteric knowledge. The headdress, abstracted face and prominent neck evoke Komo, a power association that imparts its secret knowledge to its male members. Today such locks have essentially disappeared in Bamana country, replaced by foreign-made types. Many Bamana have converted to Islam and the visual associations of the older locks with the traditional way of the Bamana are no longer appreciated. As a result many locks were discarded or sold in the art market.

Provenance

1960s, acquired in Bamako, Mali by Geneviève McMillan (b. 1922 - d. 2008), Cambridge, MA; 2008, to the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation, Cambridge; 2009, gift of the Geneviève McMillan and Reba Stewart Foundation to the MFA. (Accession Date: June 17, 2009)

Credit Line

Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart