Dieterlen, Germaine. An essay on the religion of the Bambara

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Chapter 1 Myths

Preliminaries Of Creation

Creation Of The Universe

Pemba's Reign


Faro's Reign

The Future Waters

Chapter 2 The Representations


The Pembele

The Balanza

Mousso Koroni


Faro's Shapes

Manifestations Of Faro

Faro's Realm

Faro's Auxiliaries

Faro's Taboos

Faro's Character, Role, And Deed

Chapter 3 The Person

Spiritual Principles (1)

The Soul, Ni, And The Double, Dya:

The Tere

The Wanzo

The Body

Effects Of Death On The Person

Attributes Of The Person

The Name

The Device

The Taboo

Joking Relationship

The Person: Exceptional Cases


The Hermaphrodite

The Albino

Chapter 4 Sacrifice And The Altar

Chapter 5 Technology

Fishing And Hunting



Weapons And Tools

The Forge


Chapter 6 The Cults

I. Individual And Family Cults

A. The Česo

B. The Altars

C. The Chief's Seat

Ii. Village Cults

A. The Dasiri

B. The Dangu

C. Stone Altars

Iii. The Religious Societies

The Komo

A. Creation And Consecration Of The Komo

B. Altars Of The Komo

C. The Mask

D. Musical Instruments

E. Initiation To The Komo

F. Ceremonies Of The Komo

G. Effects Of Broken Taboos

H. Role Of The Komo

The Kwor¸e

A. The Altars

The Ceble Or Ndomo

A. Material Objects Of The Cult.

B. Initiation

C. Activity Of The Society

D. Role Of The Institution

Chapter 7 Rites

I. Rites Concerning The Person

Birth And Name-giving




Ancestor Cult

Exceptional Cases

The Stillborn

Death Of An Uncircumcised Boy

Death At War

Death Away From Home

Death By Lightning And Drowning

Ii. Rituals Of The Refuse

Iii. Rain Rites

Iv. Rites For The Renewal Of The Year

Chapter 8 Divination

Methods Of Divination Linked To The Idea Of The Person

Measurement Of The Dya

Divination By The Kola Nut

Divination By Cowrie Shells

The Somaya


Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: An essay on the religion of the Bambara

Published By: Original publisher Paris: Presses universitaires de France. 1951. HRAF ms: iv, 293 p. [original: xx, 240 p.] ill.

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication Germaine Dieterlen ; préf. de Marcel Griaule

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2000. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Bambara (FA08)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Hunting and trapping (224); Woven and other interworked fabrics (286); Special garments (292); Ornament (301); Body alterations (304); Smiths and their crafts (326); Weapons (411); General tools (412); Inheritance (428); Games (524); Age stratification (561); Castes (564); Cosmology (772); Mythology (773); Animism (774); Spirits and gods (776);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This is a general work by a well-known French ethnographer dealing with Bambara religion and its relations with other aspects of the culture. The main sections of the book are concerned with mythology, the gods, the individual and his religion, sacrifice and the altar, technology and religion, the cults, various rites, and divination. Dieterlen tries to relate each individual aspect of Bambara religion to basic philosophy and world-view. She also shows the relationship of Bambara religion to other religions in the Sudan, which resemble it in most basic aspects.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 1

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. fa08-001

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Component part(s), monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English translation from French

Note: Issued also as thesis, Université de Paris|Translation of: [Essai sur la religion bambara]|The original French text is not included Includes bibliographical references (p. [233]-235) Translated for the HRAF files by Katia Wolf in 1960|Not translated: preface and bibliography

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1946-1949

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Ethnologist-5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. Timothy J. O'Leary ; 1960

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 1931-1949

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Mali

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Bambara (African people)


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