This puppet has been vetted as authentic.
Note: This puppet's ears, neck and jaw are separate pieces. The jaw moves. The right ear is eroded from insect damage. The cloth, hair and ropes are from the original costume.
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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