The Konkomba people live in the Oti river basin in the northern border region of Ghana and Togo. Neighbors are the Mamprusi and Tchokossi in the north, the Lamba/Losso/Kabye in the east, the Bassari in the south and the Dagomba in the southwest [1-5]. On the eastern side, the Konkomba area is interspersed with frequent Lamba settlements and some Konkomba groups can also be found in the south of the Bassari region . The Konkomba are composed of five clans, whose cohesion however is marginal [1-4], they thus do not form a coherent people. The overarching denomination ‘’Konkomba’’ has probably obtained its significance through the colonial linguistic usage . Alternate denominations are today Kpankpam, Bikpakpaln or Bikpakpaam. Their language is Konkomba (or Likpakpaln), which belongs to the Oti-Volta sub-group of the Gur languages.
|Region of Konkomba and their clans|
The Konkomba are considered acephalous and autochthonous, although local migration is frequent [1-4]. The settlement is scattered, families live in simple round houses (i.e. 3-5 soukalas) connected with an exterior wall . They adhere to the typical animistic beliefs of this region, including a creator god, different types of spirits, ancestor worship and reincarnation beliefs, details can be found in . All sacred places and shrines are outdoors, they do not have ancestor houses, as do for instance the neighboring Lamba and Kabye .
Concerning the statuary, no images/photos or references of sculptures or figures attributed to the Konkomba can be found in the literature of the 19th and 20th centuries – only in recent years have works attributed to the Konkomba appeared on the tribal art market, many of them are large-scale, i.e. higher than 80 cm, see some selected examples below [6-10]. Also, it seems difficult to recognize a consistent style in these works, since they vary from highly abstract with simple volumes to much more complex compositions.
|Selection of sculptures with (uncertain) attribution to the Konkomba|
On the other hand, Froelich , who performed field studies in 1940-48 in the Konkomba region, explicitly wrote that no sculptures or figures exist or are in use in the cultural context (p. 179:… les croyances religieuses ne se traduisent pas matériellement, ni par des édifices ni par représentations anthropomorphes … il n’y a pas de fétiches auxquels est rendu un culte). Similarly, Hahn , who did fieldwork on the material culture (!) in that region between 1986 and 1993, wrote that few wooden objects play a role in the sacred life of the Konkomba, mentioning the wooden staff of the diviner, but no anthropomorphic representations (in contrast to their eastern neighbors, the Lamba, where those are mentioned).
This substantial contradiction is difficult to explain. It seems hard to believe that Froelich and Hahn did not notice the existence of anthropomorphic representations, since the Konkomba do not seem to have secret shrines hidden in the (simple) houses, as mentioned above, and particularly in view of the often large size of these works. It is also difficult to imagine that the Konkomba changed their cultural practices since 1993. It may thus be concluded that these works offered on the market do not originate from the Konkomba or are recent outcomes of a production destined for the tribal art market, as has also developed in the northern Moba or eastern Losso/Lamba regions in recent years.
However, it is conceivable that these works do not originate from the Konkomba, since the ethnic settlement is heterogeneous, as described above – and for instance is also the case for the northern Kusasi  – or due to often unclear people denominations. This assumption would be reinforced by the fact that no consistent style seems to exist in these works attributed to the Konkomba. An example is the sculpture on the far right. The original purchase certificate at hand states its origin as ‘’Komboli, Togo’’, which then mutated into ‘’Konkomba’’ in the Yale archive denomination . However, looking on the map above and analyzing the style, the more appropriate origin is most probably ‘’Kambole’’, an ethnic group that lives in the south of the Tchamba and east of the Temba, whose style is very similar to that of this sculpture.The fact that the Konkomba do not form a uniform people, as mentioned above, may contribute to these problems.
 Froelich, Jean-Claude. La tribu Konkomba du Nord Togo. Mémoires de l’Institut français d’afrique noire. IFAN-Dakar, No. 37, 1954.
 Zech, Julius. Mitteilungen von Forschungsreisenden und Gelehrten aus den deutschen Schutzgebieten - Aus dem Schutzgebiete Togo. Bd. 17, 1904, 107-135.
 Tait, David. The Konkomba of Northern Ghana. Oxford University Press, London, Ibadan, Accra, 1961.
 Hahn, Hans Peter. Die materielle Kultur der Konkomba, Kabyè und Lamba in Nord-Togo. Rüdiger Köppe Verlag, Köln, 1996.
 Gayibor, Nicoué Lodjou. Le peuplement du Togo – état actuel des connaissances historiques. Université du Benin, Les Presses de l’UB, Lomé, 1996.
 Kirbach, André. Exposition catalogue 2007.
 Yale-Van Rijn Archive, No. 0079288.
 Zemanek auction catalogue, 11.07.2009, lot 238.
 Tribalartforum.com, 2017: http://jaenicke-njoya.com/Bi329/pages/DSC01503.htm
 Yale-Van Rijn Archive, No. 0112682.
 Keller, Thomas. Research outcome: Statuary from the Kusasi region, Northern Ghana-Togo. Blogspot 31.03.2017.