BAMANA ANIMAL PUPPET 72, Mali

This puppet has been vetted as being authentic.


Photographs © Hamill Gallery

BAMANA
ANIMAL PUPPET 72
30" high x 7" wide x 16" deep as on stand
Mali
$800

The open jaw closes with the string(s), then drops back open. (The rubber strap which would keep it closed is broken). The puppet is constructed with seven pieces of wood. The custom stand is included.

Sogo bo, the puppet masquerade drama of the Bamana, is an exploration of the moral universe. The largest group of masquerade characters and the oldest performed in the theater are bush animals. In Bamana communities, the bush is defined as the domain of men and the interpretation of the theater's bush animal characters are informed by beliefs and values associated with hunting and with hunters as men of action and society's heros. Over the last decades, at the same time that the actual area of uncultivated land has constricted and the number of hunters have diminished, the definition of the bush and the nature of the hunter/hero have been extended to other arenas of endeavor. In the Sogo bo theater, bush animal masquerades remain important precisely because they are richly drawn and complex metaphors through which to explore the nature of knowledge and power [and] the relationship of the individual to the group.

From The Sogow by Mary Jo Arnoldi in Bamana: The Art of Existence in Mali. New York: Museum of African Art.

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