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Marionette puppet from the Sogo bò theatre, Bamana, Mali. Representation of the legendary female figure "merekun" (mere = woman; kun = head).


"Sogo bò" translates as "The animals come forth". The wild animals are among the most important characters. However, themes from everyday life were also taken up, for example, scenes from the hunter's world as well as scenes about the relationship between man and woman.


The puppet show serves to convey moral values and knowledge, which is why the players have an important social responsibility. However, since the performances were primarily also seen as entertainment, the performers nevertheless enjoy great freedom of expression.


This lively and engaging form of theatre still enjoys great popularity today. Performed by fishermen and farmers alike in front of an assembled, sometimes actively participating village community, the puppet theatre followed a precise dramaturgy.


It consisted of up to twenty "acts", in each of which one character performed a self-contained parable. Between the individual performance sequences there were song and dance interludes.


Further reading:
Groux, Reginald (2008). Marionnettes du Mali. Masques et marionnettes de théâtre Sogobó. Montreuil-sous-Bois: Éditions Gourcuff Gradenigo.


Puppet, "merekun

Wood with base



H 64 cm.
- German private collection.

- Collection og Mr. Carlo Monzino (1931-1996), Castagnola.
- Hammer Auction 01, 21.05.2016. Switzerland

A Bamana Marionette, "merekun"