Ram Puppet Head (Bakòrò, Sogokun)

A naturalistic rendering of a ram, with striations incised into the top of the head and down the first third of the horns which sweep forward in a natural curve toward the nose. Eyes inlaid with green glass, and muzzle is overlaid with strip of metal. Jaw articulates, tied with cord. Cloth ears are attached and dangle on either side of head. Wood is unpainted.
Artist Unknown, African, Bamana Peoples, Mali
c. 1950
This rod puppet ram's head is a character featured in the Sogo bò, a puppet masquerade performed by Bamana youth organizations. Still active today, Sogo bò--literally, “the animal comes forth”-- is an important dramatic venue for youth to explore and comment on the tensions between traditional values and contemporary experience. Of all the characters created for the Sogo bò, animals such as the ram and hyena (see 1971/2.21) were among the oldest and continue to appear in different guises.
Museum Purchase assisted by the Friends of the Museum of Art
Wednesday, December 1, 2021