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Kòmò Society Mask and two Flywhisks

Culture Bamana
Title Kòmò Society Mask and two Flywhisks (Kòmò Kun)
Date 20th century
Medium Wood, resin, feathers, quills, fiber, animal hair, cowrie shells, and and incrustation
Dimensions Object: 13 3/4 × 5 1/4 × 27 in. (34.9 × 13.3 × 68.6 cm)
Overall: 13 3/4 x 5 1/4 x 27 in. (34.9 x 13.3 x 68.6 cm)
Credit Line Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University
Accession Number 72.111

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About this Work

The conglomeration of materials and the thick, crusty surface of this and other kòmò masks suggest something mysterious. Unlike many other Bamana objects, such as the antelope headdresses in the Eskenazi Museum of Art’s collection, for example—which are clear, open, and sharply defined—this one is purposely nebulous and difficult to “read” at a glance. The mask does not represent a single animal, but instead incorporates features—and some actual parts—of animals that have special associations with power and the spiritual world. The murkiness and multiplicity of imagery is especially appropriate for an object associated with the Kòmò Society, whose members harness powers in the non-visible world for the benefit of their communities.

Provenance research is ongoing for this and many other items in the Eskenazi Museum of Art permanent collection. For more information about the provenance of this artwork, please contact the department curator with specific questions.

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"Kòmò Society Mask and two Flywhisks | Collections Online." Collections Online. Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Indiana University, 2024.