Komo Society Mask
Arts of Africa
On View: African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
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.
Wood, metal, antelope horns, porcupine quills, organic materials
late 19th-early 20th centuries
14 x 8 x 33 1/2 in. (35.6 x 20.3 x 85.1 cm) (show scale)
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Bamana. Komo Society Mask, late 19th-early 20th centuries. 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
overall, 69.39.3.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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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.
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