Aesthetics

Certain characteristics of Koma statuary are remanent. Some of the conical terra cotta representations of heads end in a pointed cranium, others in the shape of a mug or short column. Several human figures wear hats decorated with cowrie shells. On other statues, cowrie shells are placed on the mouth, the genitals and on other parts of the body.

The eyes resemble glasses and the ears are like two handles firmly attached to the back of the head. The mouths are generally open, as if the mute characters were singing or speaking. Two non-facial mouths were sometimes joined together to form a new orifice about which we will say no more! Another example of the magic of this statuary: these faces were fused with other faces, to which arms and legs were added. The piece seems to represent an anthropomorphic rebirth. As do these Janus faces which seem to represent a certain social solidarity. And this combination of the two sexes on same object, as described above, can be interpreted as the union of the two sexes, the creation of life, the safeguarding of the species. One might wonder whether the Komaland potters were, in fact, women...

The features are often coarsely marked. The mouth is split horizontally, the eyes, the nose, the eyebrows, and the beard and moustache are generally made from rolls of earth. The top of the head is concave and is hollowed out, allowing the piece to fire properly.

These heads seem to be created as such, without bodies, as in Akan or Anyi statuary. They almost seem like stoppers or corks, or even more like a kind of nail or golf tee, inserted into the ground around a circular buerial mound covered with stones.

More complete statues have been found with a body, often in a seated hieratic position, the hands on the knees. Even more elaborate statues have also been found, in particular some richly adorned riders, on the back of a horse or a camel, which attest to the fortune acquired from commercial activities along the Trans-Saharan roads. Others depict scenes of the everyday life (women nursing, preparing food...), representations of kings or chiefs, slaves, pieces of furniture, or musical instruments; this is certainly a rich collection to supplement the unbounded body of this creative and living art.