230627 - Old Terracotta Koma head on stand - Nigeria


Antique Terracotta Koma head with stand - Nigeria.
This superb and highly characteristic Koma head measures 11 cm in height and 17 cm including the stand.
This Koma head was collected in my private collection in 1994.

Koma is a relatively primitive hill-dwelling ethnic group in northern Adamawa, in the Atlantika Mountains, which shares a border with southern Cameroun. Hill-dwellers are spread through the south and southwest of these mountains, including many on the Cameroun side. There are 21 Koma villages in the Cameroonian side of the Alantika Mountains and 17 villages on the Nigerian side.

The largest towns in the Koma area are: Tantille, Chonha, Mani, Nassaraw Koma and Ba-Usmanu.

Among the Komas, a twin birth is regarded as evil, and twins are considered abominable so much so that until recently babies of multiple births used to be buried alive with the women who had the 'misfortune' of being their mothers. This obnoxious practice of twins killing is out of vogue among Komas who dwell on the plains, but in the out-of-the-way settlements on the hills, the ancient practice still thrives untainted.

Koma medicine men engage in extended farting sessions on the occasion of public dancing ceremonies. They train with a master and are capable of farting for hours on end. When the anus area becomes irritated from prolonged flatulence, it is soothed with a healing powder. The tradition is thought to originate in mockery of puritanical Muslims, who used to enslave Komas and drove them to move their habitat into the hilly areas they now occupy. The tradition was famously documented in a documentary