240708 - African Bozo fish marionet - Mali


Mali : African Bozo Fish Marionet.
Hand carved from a single piece of colorful painted wood.
Long : 34 cm.
This is a fabulous Bozo Fish Puppet that comes from Mali. Bozo Fish Puppets are used by the people of the Bozo tribe of Central Mali to tell the stories of their tribe. The young men’s association is responsible for the masquerades after the harvest is finished. A week of song and dance with these puppets recounts the history of the group. Villagers come together to celebrate. Puppets are brought out, and competitions are held to find the best performers. Tribal history, customs and morals are taught through the puppets. Bozo puppet headpieces such as these were performed during the Sogo Ba masquerade. Dance troops of young men, members of local youth groups, sing, dance, drum, manipulate puppets or dance masks in creating performances called Sogo Ba. Though considered to be a form of entertainment the performances are directed towards a description of the moral universe and the imperfection of humans and the need to educate people as regards ethical behavior and how to attain a religious way of life and how to maintain social and familial stability. Performances include religion, history, observations of local contemporary political events, satire of behavior and simple entertainment through the music and dance. The headpiece is a complex carving with a number of motifs presented and emphasized through the use of bright colors and expressive sculpting of the facial features and metal decorative pieces.