Date: 19th–mid-20th century
Geography: Guinea or Mali or Burkina Faso or Côte d'Ivoire
Culture: Komo or Koma Power Association
Medium: Wood, encrustation, quills, feathers, horns, bird skull
Dimensions: H. 10 x W. 9 1/8 x D. 33 7/16 in. (25.4 x 23.2 x 85 cm)
Credit Line: The Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Collection, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Morton Lipkin, 1961
Accession Number: 1978.412.426
Kòmò, a West African power association, promotes the well-being of the community and protects individuals from harm. Kòmò leaders invest significant resources in masks and other arts, including helmet masks that combine horizontal wooden sculptures of intimidating beasts with evocative animal matter. The masks are insignia of the profound knowledge and great power that the organization engenders. Kòmò leaders construct helmet masks and other works to assert their authority, deter criminals, and combat malevolent forces that threaten communities.