Culture

To our knowledge, there is not much literature on the subject of Komaland and not much is known of this enthralling art of African ceramics. The authors who have addressed the topic agree that these statues were for funerary use. According to a report on a meticulous excavation campaign in August 1984, « the funerary practice of burial under a structure of stones arranged in a circle with a pile of other stones and various objects, does not have such sophisticated precedents in Ghana ». According to the research, the terra cotta art from ancient Komaland seems to be the work of traditional qualified craftsmen quite sensitive to aesthetics. This art is, without any doubt, strongly symbolic.

The general shape of these stone cones seems to be that of the male phallus, all the more so when it is put in the ground. The penetration of the phallus into the ground is similar to the act of procreation and symbolizes fertility. The head and the face which remain above ground probably represent the spirits of the ancestors and symbolize either reincarnation, the new life of the deceased, or the spirits who protect him.

The top of the heads is concave, like a bowl. It seems as though the artist pressed the center of the head with his fingers, to dig out a receptacle there. Curiously, this bowl on top of the head is connected to the nostrils by interior passages which gives rise to the thought that these heads were intended to hold liquid offerings, which would drip out of the cranium through the nose, continuing on to the ground.

The same process would occur when it rained, allowing the passage of this natural divine and sacred fluid towards the ground. If it is added that these kinds of funnels in the bottom of the bowls are vagina-shaped, and that the protuberances of the receptacle resemble those of the clitoris, the observer will certainly understand the symbolism of the intention.

The characters themselves are representations of dignitaries, riders or hunters, wearing necklaces, belts and bracelets, and with prominent navels and areolas. Some are only heads, very well worked, with beards, hollowed out nostrils and ears, and sophisticated hairstyles. The majority were found in tombs, the rest on the surface of the ground, sometimes decorated with cowrie shells. Let us not forget that the cowrie shell represents the female genitalia in several West African cultures...