Lot 75. Get It While It's Hot! Elegant Malian Doorlock with Lizards and Birds, Starting Bid: Low Est: Hi Est:
Bamana (Bambarra) Tribe, Mali
most likely Bamana or Senufo Tribe, Mali Composition: wood, stain, oils, encrustation Age: early-mid 20th century Dimensions: 7.5" (19.05 cm) h Provenance: Ex. Private New York Collection All purchases includes custom made base as displayed and a complete dossier/certificate of authenticity In a 2001 New York Times article, Dr. Eleanor Imperato, an expert on Malian door locks, writes, “Doors and locks have a spiritual function, and a lock can keep out evil"..."everything has a symbolic meaning; the locks are all made by the local blacksmiths, who besides being artisans, have magical powers that let them contact spirits.'' A lock that was most likely for a granary or other shutter due to its scale, attributable most likely to the Bamana or Senufo Tribe. Finely carved from wood and adorned with two birds, joined at the beak forming a superstructure, and a panel of vertically facing lizards or chameleons. It is nearly a certainty that the birds represent a symbol of love or unity and a type of proverb, and that the panel of lizards have a proverbial meaning as well. Nearly all Malian, and most West African tribes where veneration of figures representing ancestors and spirits exist, are accompanied by some type of veneration and or spiritual connection with the spirits of the bush; humans have called upon the spirits of animals as well as ancestor for blessings related to health, fertility of land and humans, and protection. For these purposes, everyday objects were often adorned with images of these types of animals. The patina shows significant signs of wear and use, and there is a nice great balance within the components of the lock itself.
figurative door lock photo (Dogon), unattributed