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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Bambara Sculptures : Bambara Wooden Door Lock
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Bambara Wooden Door Lock - PF.4541
Origin: Central Mali
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 27.375" (69.5cm) high x 18.5" (47.0cm) wide
Collection: African
Style: Bambara
Medium: Wood

Location: United States
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The Bambara (also known as the Bamana tribe) believe in the existence of spiritual forces that, if handled properly, can work through individuals to create an atmosphere of prosperity and well-being. To achieve this admirable state, the men's associations (including women) train their initiates to be honorable, knowledgeable and dignified for the greater good of the community. Art plays a crucial part in this as instructional material, acting as a sort of visual guide or role model for young boys and girls to follow.

Bambara sculptures are famous for their delicacy of expression and lovely form. This is most evident in their representations of women; and nowhere more striking and unexpected than when part of something like a door lock. Though intended as a functional object, this lock is a true sculpture, comprising both utilitarian use and aesthetic beauty. The female probably represents a fertility figure with her prominent breasts and sensual aura. Fertility is related to both the soil and to woman, and when these two concepts of nature are combined the effect is very potent. Her fork-like headdress is similar to tools used for farming, and designed to perfectly balance the horizontal thrust of the bolt. The complex symbolic system of the Bambara is reflected in their artistic output linked to ritual function. This handsome door lock embodies those very qualities with grace, harmony and balance - virtues the Bambara so admire.
- (PF.4541)


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