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Komo Society Mask

Arts of Africa

Bamana masks such as this one are worn and seen only by members of the Komo association, whose members harness the power (nyama) contained in the mask to aid members of the community. Powerful materials—including blood, chewed kola nuts, and millet beer—are applied to the mask, while prayers and sacrifices are offered. The open mouth and the horns, tusks, and porcupine quills symbolize the Komo’s power to punish those who violate its rules.
MEDIUM Wood, metal, antelope horns, porcupine quills, organic materials
DATES late 19th-early 20th century
DIMENSIONS 14 x 8 x 33 1/2 in. (35.6 x 20.3 x 85.1 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
CREDIT LINE By exchange
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Animal mask to be worn on top of head. Long narrow head with pair of long antelope horns projecting horizontally from one end and three smaller pairs set along snout between pairs of bristles. Snout is pierced by 3 rectangular openings. CONDITION: Completely covered with thick sacrificial patina. Many losses from insect damage. large piece of patina missing right rear. Two front pairs of horns are loose.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Bamana. Komo Society Mask, late 19th-early 20th century. Wood, metal, antelope horns, porcupine quills, organic materials, 14 x 8 x 33 1/2 in. (35.6 x 20.3 x 85.1 cm). Brooklyn Museum, By exchange, 69.39.3. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 69.39.3_version1_PS1.jpg)
IMAGE overall, 69.39.3_version1_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
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