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Collection highlights

Hunter’s suit

Hunter’s suit with ornaments and amulets,
Bambara people, Mali.

Among the Bambara as is the case with numerous other communities in West Africa, hunters are considered exceptional people. They hold an extremely important social position and are set apart from the rest of the population. The hunter is in fact a cultural hero and the central figure in historical stories, poetry and songs passed down from generation to generation. History reflects on hunters as people who discovered new territories to build settlements.

In the history of the Bambara, many heroes and kings were famous hunters. In order to become a hunter, it is necessary to have the necessary knowledge, skill and the ability to survive in the cruel conditions of forests and dense bush where danger (both in animal and spirit form) lurks from all sides. For this reason, the garment worn by the hunter on festive occasions, with all the decorations on the tunic and head-piece, represent the symbols of his knowledge and power. They include decorations, amulets, fetishes, trophies and emblems of power.