Komo among Tagwa-Senufo Peoples in Southwest Burkina Faso

by Boureima T. Diamitani
West African Museums Programme

Komo maskers at the funeral of a komotigui. Tagwa peoples, Burkina Faso. Photo by Boureima Diamitani, 1997.

The Komo

Komo represents the most fearful spirit for the Tagwa. They believe that the Komo is a spirit above Man, sent by Kle (God), with supernatural power to help people solve their problems. Komo functions as a police officer, benefactor of society, and protector for members of its religious association.  The term Komo designates the carved mask, the man who wears the mask, and the society composed of elders and adepts.  While no real difference in style and form exists between the Komo mask of the Tagwa and that of the Bamana, there is a sub-style specific to each Komo. In the following description, I will use the term “mask” for the Komo mask; “the Komo” for the masker; “Komo” for the society and the spirit.