AbstractMy purpose is to reexamine the significance of the Bamana and Malinke Komo mask in the light of new data collected in the Kita and Beledugu regions of Mali, West Africa. This information suggests that the headdress incorporates several levels of meaning and that an intense concern with the control of masculine sexuality and the mastery of human reproduction informs one of the less easily accessible, but crucially important, metaphors that lie concealed within the mask. The data also suggests that a deep-seated fear of the female sex is an important motivation for the creation of secret male associations and the artworks used in them.
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