African, Mali, Bamana peoples
Object Place: Mali
Overall: 47 x 8 x 6.5 cm (18 1/2 x 3 1/8 x 2 9/16 in.)
Medium or Technique
Not On View
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.
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)
Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart