Photographs © Tim Hamill
BAMANA, Merekun Puppets, Mali
This Bamana puppet has been vetted by a French dealer as being authentic with signs of use and age.
Sogo bo, the puppet masquerade drama of the Bamana, is an exploration
of the moral universe.
The relationship between men and women and the problems of domestic relations in polygamous households are important concerns of many Sogo bo performances. Conflict among co-wives is a popular theme in many stories and two of the main characters areBarabara, the Favorite Wife, and the Galomuso, the Bad Wife. Like folktales and other theatrical forms, these masquerade performances throw cultural values and social relationships into high relief and open them up for public scrutiny.
The largest group of masquerade characters and the oldest performed in the theater are bush animals (see Bamana Animal Puppets).
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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