Bamana Women’s Pottery

by Barbara Frank
SUNY at Stony Brook

Bamana potter Seban Fané, Kunògò, Mali, 1991. Photograph by Barbara E. Frank.

 

In addition to pottery production, Bamana potters are also responsible for preparing sacrificial meals and dressing the hair on special occasions, and are often consulted as healers. In the past, certain numumusow were entrusted with the dangerous and delicate operation of excision on young girls. (Despite the concerns of Western­ trained health care specialists, this is a practice that continues and is now more often performed when the child is a toddler at local health clinics.) These rights and responsibilities are all part of the heritage of Bamana potters.