Bozo Buffalo Marionette Mask

The Bozo and Bamana people took puppetry masquerades very seriously, to the point of being very famous for it.
Tribe: Bozo

Origin: Mali

Approx Age: 1960’s

Materials: Wood

Dimensions cm: 72 long x 40 wide x 27 tall

Ref. Number: 1480


An impressive Bozo buffalo marionette mask from an old UK collection. Beautifully carved and painted originally in bright coloured pigments for the masquerade, now the yellow has faded somewhat and shows age crazing to the wood under the pigment. The inside of the head has a strange looking arrangement as these masks are attached to a purpose made stick to attach this to a huge covered framed body for a couple of people to parade around, see picture at the lower of the page.


Sogo Bo Puppet Masquerade features hand-carved wood festival puppets from the Bamana and Bozo people of Mali. Sogo Bo is a major festival in Mali where participants, draped in African fabrics, wear the animal and human-shaped puppets as masks and march through the streets in a celebration that is both parade and theatre.

It is a unique theatrical form composed of dances, masks and puppets in a strict ritual. Sogo bò means “the animals come forth” and, in fact, most of the masks represent animals. They are very important in the whole repertoire as they symbolize the nature of humans, their qualities, strengths and weaknesses.

Bozo masquerade

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