The Bambara or Bamana ethnic group in Mali is known, among other things, for
producing door locks. These locks are known as konbarabara, or literally "protrusion of a door". Read the story..
They are complex mechanisms, but they are also truly artistic creations. Bamana locks are among the most remarkable African works of art. Generally made of wood, they consist of two parts arranged in a cross: a vertical part, the box, which is attached to the door with two irons, and a horizontal part, the cross piece or
latch. The key is inserted into this second, hollow part.
These objects are usually carved from wood and exist in a variety of forms, referring to historical or mythical figures or social events:
lizards, crocodiles, turtles, owls, bats, human butterflies.
Bamana locks could be used both for public purposes, such as locking the doors of religious shrines, and for private purposes, such as the hut, bedroom and granary.
A large number of granaries represent wealth, security and abundance. Not surprisingly, these are closed by highly ornate doors and locks.