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HOME : African & Tribal Art : Masterpieces of African Art : Komaland Terracotta Sculpture of Janiform Twins
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Komaland Terracotta Sculpture of Janiform Twins - CK.0689
Origin: Northern Ghana
Circa: 12th th Century AD to 16th th Century AD
Dimensions: 14" (35.6cm) high x 5" (12.7cm) wide
Collection: African
Medium: Terracotta

Location: United States
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The Komaland people are almost completely obscure, and since the original discovery of their artefacts in 1985 very little further research has been carried out. Basic dating indicates a range of perhaps 500 years between the 13th and 18th centuries. They are known to have been very able ceramicists, and made pots, figures, heads, talismans (anthropomorphic and zoomorphic) and a variety of other items; they were also, unusually, competent metalworkers, and produced a plethora of weaponry and ornate helmets. Their society was presumably sedentary, agricultural and hierarchical, as indicated by the range of crafts available, the tumuli in which they were found, and the size of the sites.

In terms of ceramics, there is an unusually high percentage of deformed and heavily stylised figures; the significance of this remains uncertain. In the current case, a bicephalous portrait could have many meanings, none of them currently falsifiable. It could represent a “real” person, who was immortalised due to his/her rarity. This explanation is powerful in light of the West African tendency towards twinning, which remains high to this day among the Yoruba and adjacent groups. Alternatively it could be a figure from Koma mythology, reproduced in his honour, or even a fanciful construction or experiment by a spectacularly imaginative and accomplished ceramicist. - (CK.0689)


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