In the 1980s, the first figurines of this style were found in fired clay in the Upper West Region of Ghana, in the area now inhabited by the Koma (e.g. in Yikpabongo, Tantuosi, Wumobri) and the Bulsa (Builsa). Thermoluminescence age determinations dated the objects from the 13th to the 18th century CE.
Karl Ferdinand Schädler described the new discovery of this culture in 1987 as follows: “Some of them look as if they came from the Bandiagara gorges and were products of the Dogon. But these are only a few. Most of these terracottas of a culture of which nothing is known look rather as if they came from Somarzo or as if they had sprung from the fantasy world of a Hieronymus Bosch: Heads whose braincases are pointed or which are hollowed out in the shape of a cup in reverse, with spectacle-like eyes or with ears which, like two handles, are attached to the back of the head. Mouths that, separated from any face, unite with other mouths to form a new “speaking for itself” being; conversely, faces that have also united with others and – provided with arms and legs – now seem to come directly from the underworld.
Lit: Schaedler, Karl-Ferdinand (1997). Erde und Erz. München: Panterra Verlag.
Provenance: Manfred Schäfer collection, ex- gallery owner from Ulm, Germany.
Including professional custom made stand.