Antique lock & Key, Tuareg, north Africa.
The Tuareg are nomads living in the desert and sahel regions of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Algeria, and Libya. Tuareg blacksmiths (inadan) are famous for their fine metalwork. Tuareg women use locks (tanast) to close the leather bags that hold their jewelry and other precious belongings. Each lock can only be opened using the specially designed key. The key is placed in the hole near the end, then pulled towards the other end, where the springs click open and the actual lock, with the pin comes off. It can be closed simply by pushing it back in position.
This inventive lock is a genuine piece of Tuareg metal-work made of iron and brass, the decorations are minimal so I really think this is an antique item.
Lock: 10,4 cm / 4.1 inches.
Key: 11 cm / 4.3 inches.
Provenance: I bought it from a tour guide in Morocco, he had it from a dealer in the Dades Gorges, this is the route to Ouarzazate Tinerhir, he obtained it of a family from the mountains.