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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.
CULTURE Bamana
MEDIUM Wood, metal, antelope horns, porcupine quills, organic materials
DATES late 19th-early 20th centuries
DIMENSIONS 14 x 8 x 33 1/2 in. (35.6 x 20.3 x 85.1 cm)  (show scale)
COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in African Storage Annex, East Gallery, 1st Floor
ACCESSION NUMBER 69.39.3
CREDIT LINE By exchange
RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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CAPTION 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
IMAGE overall, 69.39.3_version1_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
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.
RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (89%)
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