The Bamana (or Bambara) are members of the Mande culture, a large and powerful group of peoples in western Africa. The artistic tradition of the Bamana is rich, encompassing pottery, sculpture, beautiful bokolanfini cloth, and wrought-iron figures crafted by blacksmiths. They also have an extensive tradition of masks, which are used as a form of social control and community education.This volume focuses on the aesthetic qualities of the masterpieces of Bamana religious art in Mali and resituates them in their social, aesthetic, and cultural context. The emphasis is on pieces used in rites of passage (Ntomo, funerals), or by agricultural cooperatives, and initiation societies (Jo, Komo, Kono, Tyiwara, Namakoro). The pieces are sublime precisely because they stand at the crossroads of religion, art, and politics.Works included in the book are from the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Seattle Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, University of Iowa Museum of Art, Indiana University Art Museum, Museum for African Art NY, National Museum of African Art (Smithsonian Institution).