20th century, 1950–2000
Object Place: Mali
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.)
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.
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)
Gift of Geneviève McMillan in memory of Reba Stewart