Special Events

Becoming A Man Traditional Initiation Rites of the Bamana in Mali

Becoming A Man Traditional Initiation rites. The inauguration of this exhibition will be held at the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology (VME) on 11th May 2012. It will be open to the public from May 12th to November 11th, 2012. The exhibition is organized by the Vietnam Museum of Ethnology in collaboration with Ms.Catherine De Clippel, an anthropological photographer, and graphic and artistic director. Mr. Patrick Hoarau. A preview of this exhibition was on display from 16th November to 15th December 2011at the French Cultural Center, (ESPACE) in Trang Tien street Hanoi.

 In Becoming a Man, the beliefs and religious life of the Bamana in Mali, a western African country, are represented through 27 objects, 63 photographs, five films, and various texts. Masks, charms, and images of festivities, hunters, and ritual specialists have been chosen to illustrate important rituals in the life cycle of Bamana men. Bamana secret societies and religious life represent unique traditions in Mali, in particular the initiation of boys into manhood and rituals of secret societies to increase men’s power and influence. These occult and special African traditions are still unknown to most Vietnamese. Though this exhibit comes from a distant African land, there are similarities to some shamanic customs and initiation rites in Vietnam.

This exhibit is an example of the broadening scope of exhibitions at the Museum of Ethnology to include cultures and lives of different peoples in the world and to present cultures other than Vietnamese ethnic groups. Though VME has had presentations and exhibitions from different cultures of the world, this is the first time that an exhibition of African peoples has been presented. African exhibits are rarely seen in Southeast Asian museums.

Along with this exhibit, there will be educational programs including discovery activities for children and families. Films of Africa and of initiation rites will be shown in the audiovisual room. There will also be presentations related to the exhibition.