Cultural Encyclopaedia

Show Menu Hide Menu

Archaeology

Koma-Bulsa: Its Arts and Archaeology

Summary of Book by James Anquandah, 1998
Published by Istituto italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente

This book discuses the history, society, geography, contemporary art forms and the ancient terracotta artworks of Komaland, located on the border between the Northern Region and the Upper West Region of Ghana. This geographical area comprised of a number of settlements including Barisi, Dabozesi, Koma, Kubore, Tandu, Yikpabongo and Zanwara. Archaeological and ethnographic research yielded various naturalistic and stylistic terracotta artworks depicting humans and animals, horse riders, pots with humanlike features (Homomorphic pots) among others. Based on detailed multi-disciplinary studies of the ancient art forms and their motifs dated to c. AD 1300-1800, Anquandah provided insight into Koma religious beliefs and practices, economic or subsistence practices, political rule and leadership (characterized by depiction of stools and seated royal persons with elaborate body decorations) and other socio-cultural practices. Anquandah suggested that hitherto, studies of art in Ghana have largely been centred on the Arts of the Akan, particularly on their funerary terracotta art, gold masks, swords and jewellery, cast brass figures for gold weighing, silver stools, wooden linguist staffs, drums and fertility dolls, and their indigenous religious architecture. The book provides knowledge of the arts of Northern Ghana and devised a chronological framework in which they could be studied- an important contribution to the development of art history in Ghana.