The Bambara, also called Bamana or Baumana, form the largest ethnic group within Mali and occupy the central part of the country, in an area of savannah. They live principally from agriculture, with some subsidiary cattle rearing in the northern part of their territory. The Bambara are predominantly animists, although recently the Muslim faith has been spreading amongst them. The Bambara kingdom ws founded in the 17th century and reached its pinnacle between 1760 and 1787 during the reign of N'golo Diarra. N'gola Diarra is credited with conquering the Peul people and in turn claimed the cities of Djenne and Timbuktu. However, during the 19th century, the kingdom began to decline and ultimately fell to the French when they arrived in 1892. For the most part, Bambara society is structured around six male societies, known as the
The stylistic variations in Bambara art are extreme - sculptures, masks and headdresses display either stylized or realistic features, and either weathered or encrusted pantinas.
~ links to BAMBARA items on
BAMBARA Animal Masks
BAMBARA Ancestral Figures/Statues