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African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Hemba figure
This African art statuette, Hemba or Luba Nkisi, personifies a male ancestor, standing on a single leg. Velvety smooth patina, locally chipped. Minimal cracks.
The Hemba settled in southeastern Zaire. Once under Luba rule, these farmers and hunters practice ancestor worship through effigies long attributed to the Luba.
The statues singiti were kept by the fumu mwalo and honored during ceremonies during which sacrifices were offered to them. Alongside the authority of the hereditary chiefs, secret societies, male such as the bukazanzi , and female, the bukibilo ,played a great role within the clan.
(Source: "Treasures of Africa, Museum of Tervuren)
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Luba mask
This African kifwebe (pl.bifwebe) mask,adorned with striations, depicting a nocturnal raptor appeared in the company of a circular kifwebe mask equipped with a voluminous raffia collar hiding the dancer. The owl symbolizes magic among the Luba.
These masks were performed during different traditions: investitures, funerals, and rites against witchcraft among the different initiatory societies. In the eastern part of the Luba region, important ceremonies are held in honor of the clan's ancestors, deceased chiefs, and the new moon. They did indeed have some zoomorphic masks associated with the kifwebe dance. They performed during the ritual ceremonies of the kazanzi society, responsible for fighting witchcraft. Offerings are then made to the spirits of nature, intermediaries ...
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Nzebi mask
Originally from the Ogooué region, the Nzebi or Bandjabis settled in southern Gabon and in the Republic of Congo around Mayoko, a region rich in iron ore. The Bwiti, Mwiri, and Ndjobi form their main secret societies.
This mask of reduced dimensions, of nzébi inspiration, is characterized by its fine lines and the vertical distribution of its colored zones.
Embodying a spirit of nature or an ancestor, he was supposed to facilitate access to the supernatural world in order to guarantee the benevolence of the powers reigning, according to the group, over the afterlife.
Grainy satin surface.
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Zande figurine
African art among the Zande.
Very expressionist janiform statuette, with deformed limbs and endowed with a face reproducing the masks of the group. The head has an opening for fetish or therapeutic materials.
Brown satin patina.
Desication cracks, erosions.
Formerly referred to as "Niam-Niam" because they were considered cannibals, the tribes grouped together under the name of Zande, Azandé, settled, coming from Chad, on the border of the DRC (Zaire), Sudan and the Central African Republic.
The Zande, or "those who own a lot of land", use two types of statues:
Kudu statues with a height between 30 and 50 cm represent ancestors.
There are also so-called Yanda statues of 10 to 20 cm, in animal or human form, having an apotropaic role which were exhibited during ...
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Colon Baoule
Western influences in African art Baoulé .
Commonly called "colon" but sometimes embodying however a type of "ideal spouse" according to individual criteria, this male figure, coated with a polychrome patina softened, is represented in Western dress (African Art Western Eyes, Baule", Vogel, p.253 to 257).
Two types of statues are produced by the baoulé in the ritual context:
The Waka-Sona statues, "being of wood" in Baoulé, evoke a assié oussou, being of the earth. They are one of a type of statues intended to be used as medium tools by Komien soothsayers, the latter being selected by the asye usu spirits in order to communicate revelations from beyond. The second type of statues, made according to the indications of the diviner, are the spouses of the beyond, masculine, the ...
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Tschokwe Mask
br>In the many African masks akishi (sing: mukishi, indicating power) of African tribal art Chokwe, the powerful male counterpart of the Mwana Pwo mask is the cihongo . These masks are danced by itinerant professionals. The characteristic motifs on the forehead, and sometimes on the cheekbones, are part of the chokwe aesthetic canons but also served as public markers of ethnic identity. This recurrent cruciform frontal pattern would also have a cosmogonic significance. Always worn by dancers of royal blood, this mask embodying a spirit symbolizes power and wealth. He also intervened, at times, on occasion judgments. Dark patina maten, abrasions and cracks of desication.
The masks of the Chokwe, Luda, Luvale/Lwena, Luchazi and Mbunda clans are named in Zambia as 'makishi' (sing. ...
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lega figure
Sculpture relating to a proverb only known to initiates, this human figure has an erect arm and a stump. This attitude generally symbolizes the appeasement of a quarrel through the arbitration of an individual.
Clear abraded patina.
The tribal art of the Lega , Balega, or even Warega, is distinguished by its initiation statuettes, some of which were kept in a basket intended for the highest ranking officers of the Bwami from different communities. This type of Iginga tribal art statuette ( Maginga in the plural), was the property of the high-ranking officers of Bwami , a secret society admitting men and their wives, and governing social life. This organization was subdivided into initiatory stages, the highest being the ...
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Idoma mask
Naturalism for this Nigerian mask associated with funerary rites, and whose face coated with white clay bears the traditional keloids in vertical barrette, also present in the Igbos, with protruding cheekbones under ample eye sockets, and an apparent dentition. The ears are raised with red ochre pigment.
Flaky, flaking patina.
The Idoma settled at the confluence of the Benue and Niger rivers. Numbering 500,000, they are farmers and traders. The neighborhood and therefore the influences of the Igbo, the ethnic groups of the Cross River and Igala have generated stylistic borrowings and great tribal similarities.
The royal lineage members of their society oglinye , glorifying courage, use masks and crests during funerals and festivities. They also produce statues of ...
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Teke statue
Statue biteke (sculpted figure) embodying an ancestor of the clan. His hollow bust must have housed the magical charge called " Bonga " or "bilongo", which was generally fixed or concealed by a textile. This symbolism refers to the Téké belief that the abdomen conceals wisdom. These fetishes were placed on the altars of the chiefs.
Established between the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo and Gabon, the Téké were organized into chiefdoms, the chief of which was often chosen from among the blacksmiths. The head of the family, mfumu , had the right of life or death over his family, the importance of which determined his prestige. The chief of the clan, ngantsié , kept the great protective fetish tar mantsié which ...
African art > Spoons, ladles > Touareg Ladle
br> Usual objects in African art.
A functional accessory for ritual ceremonies, this sculpted spoon offers a deep cone-shaped spoon surmounted by a curved handle with a flat end. Very fine streaks adorn the surface.
Scattered throughout the Saharan region of Libya, Mali, Algeria and Niger, the Tuareg (sing: Targui), or "Veiled Men", would come from Berber pastors fleeing the Arabs in Libya in the 7th century.
The targui blacksmith also sculpts wood, which is a rare material, carved objects which are often repaired to prolong their use are part of the dowry.
Ref. : "Black Africa, 1" J. Anquetil.
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lega mask
Mask offering the physiognomy of a primate. Kaolin residues.
This sculpted work indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society made up of different ranks, and which were joined by the wives whose husbands had reached the third level, that of ngandu .
Height including beard: 48 cm.
Within the Léga, the Bwami society, open to men and women, organized social and political life. There were up to seven initiation levels, each associated with emblems. Following their exodus from Uganda in the 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in DRC. During ritual ceremonies, Idumu masks were presented to initiates placed on a barrier and surrounded by smaller masks.
The teacher guided the aspirant to a place where ...
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Senoufo figure
Figure sculpted for divination purposes, this statuette has "hooves" hands placed on either side of the abdomen. The face is streaked with linear scarifications obliquely. Light brown satin patina. Abrasions. Desiccation cracks.
The Senoufos, a name given to them by French settlers, are mainly made up of farmers who have dispersed between Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso. Ruled by matrilineal traditions, their villages are made up of clusters of dwellings called katiolo . Each of them has its own Poro association which initiates young boys from the age of seven in a succession of three cycles lasting seven years. When one of the Poro members died, the statues named pombibele were on display. Although exclusively male, the Poro company in fact pays homage with these ...
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba statue
A local chief's effigy believed to facilitate contact with tutelary spirits, the African statuette Hemba, opposite, was originally attributed to the Luba. Hemba clan leaders had several ancestor statues that they venerated, and to which they dedicated offerings in order to establish their legitimacy. The attitude is classical, hands resting on a protruding abdomen, symbol of lineage. The cruciform headdress is delimited by a wide sculpted band like the beard.
Light brown patina with ochre residue. Desiccation cracks.
The Hemba, established in southeastern Zaire on the right bank of the Lualaba River, were for a long time subject to the neighboring Luba empire, which had a definite influence on their culture, religion and art. Ancestor worship, whose effigies have long been ...
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Baoule mask
This flat, circular African mask is the least important in the hierarchy of African Goli masks.
Embellished with a decorative chiseled border, offering protruding pupils, it has a chiseled mouth with a dentition, evoking the traditional filing of teeth in young people. This example is surmounted by a sculpted figure, represented masked, standing between the scrolled horns. According to some authors, the female kplekple mask (Masques africains Barbier-Mueller, p.116) is red. Vogel (Baule) indicates on the other hand that in the Baule version of the Goli the male mask is painted red, and the female in black. It is likely that this attribution varies from village to village.
Usually preceding the manifestation of a series of masks of the " Goli" family, ...
African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Bronze Gan
Master bronze smiths in African art .
Gan bronzes, metal objects melted by the blacksmith using the lost wax technique, form individual protective fetishes. They embody a sacred mythical animal whose role was crucial for man, and are declined in the motifs of the turtle, chameleon, crocodile or panther. Some, composing the royal regalia, were placed in shrines.
This zoomorphic pendant, a protective jewel, figures a lion devouring its prey. Khaki brown patina with golden reflections.
Neighboring people of the Lobi in southwestern Burkina Faso, the Gan or Kaa (Kaaba pl.), form a "relic people" according to Madeleine Père, living within a wooded savanna. Their king "Gan Massa" is elected by the notables from different villages. Hypotheses diverge as to their origins. ...