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The achievements of African tribal art fascinated many European artists and collectors in the 20th century. From André Breton to Picasso, all were seized with a buying fever that quickly spread in the middle. If these sculptures are more of an artistic dimension for Westerners, it is nevertheless through their ritual sacralisation that they reveal themselves for the African peoples. Their ceremonial role confers on them a unique power that distinguishes them from other forms of ethnic art. These works were acquired (sold or offered by natives) throughout the twentieth century by ethnologists on mission or colonial cooperatives to be exhibited in museums, or integrated into prestigious private collections. This is the story of these pieces that we propose to discover through our gallery and our website.

Dogon bronze
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Dogon bronze

Longiform silhouettes, erected on a base, depicting the primordial ancestors of the Dogon. These African Dogon statues, in bronze, indeed evoke the Nommos, mythical beings at the origin of creation among the Dogon of Mali. Also reminiscent of the sculptures of the famous Giacometti, they are represented in the position of invocation, arms raised towards the sky. Their surface is punctuated by a succession of notches. Orange-brown patina.

The Dogon are a people renowned for their cosmogony, their esotericism, their myths and legends. Their population is estimated at around 300,000 souls living in the south-west of the Niger loop in the Mopti region of Mali (Bandiagara, Koro, Banka), near Douentza and part of northern Burkina (north-west of Ouahigouya ). The villages are ...


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Statuette Baoulé
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statuette Baoulé

Statue Waka -Sona, 'being of wood' in baoulé, representing a slender young woman, wearing braided hair and then picked up in two parallel shells. It is probably a figure belonging to the category Blolo bia . . The dark brown patina is glossy, thinned by the abrasion on the reliefs. Long crack.
Two types of statues Waka-Sona are indeed produced by the baoulé in the ritual framework: those that evoke a assid oussou, being from the earth, and are part of a set of statues intended to be used as a medium tool by the Komian soothsayers, the latter being selected by the spirits asye usu in order to communicate the revelations of the afterlife. The second type of statues are the spouses of the afterlife, male, Blolo bian or female, the blolo bia .
A sixty ethnic groups populate Côte ...


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190.00

Lega Cap
African art > Headdresses and hats, headdresses > Lega Cap

Ex-Swiss tribal art collection.
This type of head adornment is worn by members of the highest ranks of the secret society bwami governing the social structure lega , open to circumcised adults and their wives and who instruct their adherents in terms of moral perfection. These objects are part of the masengo, meaning that they are sacred and can therefore only be worn by initiates. The owner cannot part with it during his lifetime. Bwami has different degrees, with yananio and kindi being the highest. The materials used vary, it can be buttons of clothes, cowries, pearls or cocoa beans. A carefully braided cap made of natural fibers is decorated with shells and glass beads. This cap was once surmounted by elephant hair in reference to the destructive power of the animal under an ...


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65.00

Lega Cap
African art > Headdresses and hats, headdresses > Lega Cap

This type of headdress is worn by members of the highest ranks of the bwami secret society, governing the lega social structure, open to circumcised adults and their wives and who instruct their adherents in terms of moral perfection. These objects are part of the masengo, meaning that they are sacred and can therefore only be worn by initiates. The owner cannot part with it during his lifetime. Bwami has different degrees, with yananio and kindi being the highest. The materials used vary, it can be buttons of clothes, cowries, pearls or cocoa beans. On a carefully braided natural fiber cap, this headgear is entirely covered with manufactured buttons (Mukuba). This old skullcap is originally surmounted by elephant hair in reference, under an imperturbable appearance, to the destructive ...


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65.00

Tabwa Oracle
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African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Tabwa Oracle

Among the divination tools used by the nganga, this sculpture was gripped by the central frame to slide back and forth in response to questions posed to the ancestors. The impulse of the movement, which was attributed to the spirits, was supposed to make the consultant discover the source of his problems in order to find a solution. The Luba, related to the Songye through common ancestors, also used this type of object as part of their divination ceremonies.
Beautiful nuanced light brown patina. Small erosions.
The Tabwa ("scarify" and "write") constitute an ethnic group present in the South-East of the DRC, around Lake Tanganyika. The tribes of this region, such as the Tumbwe, worship Mipasi ancestors through sculptures held by chiefs or sorcerers. A magic charge (dawa) ...


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Oracle Songye
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African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Oracle Songye

Among the divination tools used by the nganga, this anthropomorphic sculpture evoking the famous fetishes, here surmounted by two heads, was clinging by the central arch to slide back and forth in response to questions posed to ancestors. The impulse of the movement, aroused by the spirits, was supposed to make the consultant discover the source of his problems in order to bring a solution. The Luba, linked to the Songye through common ancestors, also used these types of objects as part of their divination ceremonies.
The Songye has produced a wide variety of fetishes and talismans boanga in order to protect against any kind of misfortune and to assure them in this way wealth, health and fertility. These sculptures were generally accessorized with metal and loaded with ritual ...


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Oracle Luba
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African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Oracle Luba

This African sculpture was a tool of communication with ancestors, used by the soothsayer during divination rituals. Incorporating the category of objects nkisi , nkishi , it is supposed to be endowed with a secret power, receptacle of a spiritual energy. The Luba, like their neighbors, use this type of objects related to the divination kashekesheke named katatora and lubuko. According to François Neyt, the object was carved from wood (kibekwasa ) with magical properties.
When the interview, the ring was caught by the soothsayer and his client, who dragging it over a mat or headrest in response to questions (producing the sound "kashekesheke", "extraction of truth"). Considered feminine, the object is a symbol, for the Luba, of the spiritual power available to the woman, represented ...


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Lwena mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lwena mask

This type of mask is distinguished by their pointed chin, and fine lines. These masks are usually identified as a luval version of "Pwevo", which would embody a white "chindele" woman.
Losses on the contours.
Height on base: 31 cm.
When some became slave traders, other groups found refuge in Zambia, forming the Luvale, Lovale. The Lwena and the Luvale became known for their sculptures embodying the figures of deceased ancestors and chiefs, and their masks linked to the initiation rites of the mukanda, a secret association masculine that all these groups share on this same territory, with some variations however. The masks of the Chokwe, Luda, Luvale/Lwena, Luchazi and Mbunda clans are called "makishi" (sing. likishi) in Zambia. This name comes from "kishi", a Bantu ...


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Yoruba carved panel
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African art > Doors, shutters, ladders dogon wood > Yoruba carved panel

An elaborate panel, where figures illustrating various scenes frame an inlaid mirror. Satin patina, discrete colored highlights.


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Yoruba Masque
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Yoruba Masque

Peu répandus, les masques Yoruba associés à la complémentarité du couple, à la dualité de l'être, mais également aux jumeaux, thème d'importance au sein du monde yoruba. Les rehauts colorés sont abrasés par l'usage, des manques sont à signaler sur les pourtours. Patine mate, abrasions d'usage.
Le pays Gelede au Nigéria rend hommage aux mères, plus particulièrement les plus âgées d'entre elles, dont les pouvoirs seraient comparables à ceux des dieux yoruba, ou orisa , et des ancêtres, osi et qui peuvent être utilisés pour le bénéfice mais aussi pour le malheur de la société. Dans ce dernier cas ces femmes sont nommées aje . Les cérémonies masquées, à travers des performances utilisant les masques, les costumes et les danses, sont censées exhorter les mères à utiliser leurs ...


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480.00

Dogon Sculpture
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Dogon Sculpture

This Dogon tribal art sculpture composes an abstract work from six subjects clustered around the central core. A circular growth forms the top, the feet are missing. Eroded matte patina, crusty residue. Desiccation cracks.

These statues, sometimes embodying the nyama of the deceased, are placed on ancestral altars and participate in various rituals including those of sowing and harvest periods. Parallel to Islam, Dogon religious rites are organized around four main cults: the Lébé, relating to fertility, under the spiritual authority of the Hogon, the Wagem, worship of the ancestors under the authority of the patriarch, the Binou invoking the world of spirits and led by the priest of Binou, and the society of masks concerning funerals.
According to Dogon cosmogony, the ...


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390.00

Bamileke Horn
African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Bamileke Horn

Among the Bamiléké as in other ethnic groups, objects of African art testified to the place of their owner in society. The materials and shapes of objects varied according to social status. This palm wine cup was used by notables to conclude agreements during ritual ceremonies.
Located in the border region of Nigeria, the North-West province of Cameroon, Grassland is made up of several ethnic groups: Tikar, Anyang, Widekum, Chamba, Bamoun and Bamileke. Several centralized chiefdoms, or kingdoms, based on customary associations and secret societies, were organized around the Fon, which would have broad powers.


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180.00

Pende mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Pende mask

Colorful geometry for this African mask with pure lines, among the great diversity of African hanging sculptures. Matte patina.
Height on base: 36 cm.
The Western Pende live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the Eastern are established on the banks of the Kasaï downstream of Tshikapa. The influence of the neighboring ethnic groups, Mbla, Suku, Wongo, Leele, Kuba and Salempasu is imprinted on their large tribal art sculpture. Within this diversity, the Mbuya masks, realistic, produced every ten years, take on a festive function, and embody different characters, including the chief, the diviner and his wife, the prostitute, the possessed, etc... The masks of initiation and those of power, the minganji, represent the ancestors and occur successively during the same ceremonies, ...


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Songye Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Songye Mask

Spherical volume for the upper part, gradually reducing towards a pointed jaw, this tribal mask bears large contrasting stripes emphasizing the curves of the sculpture. Matte patina. Erosions.
Three types of African mask Kifwebe are listed: the masculine (kilume) generally with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) would present a more modest or even absent crest, and finally the largest embodying power (kia ndoshi).
Also practiced by the Luba, the cult kifwebe ("mask" in Songye) acted as a secret police in favor of power, so as to control individuals through magic. Worn with a long costume and a long beard made of natural fibers, Kifwebe masks also appeared during crucial stages of initiation ceremonies, at the new moon.
The Songye came from the Shaba region in the DRC and ...


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Baoule Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Baoule Mask

Ex-collection of Belgian African art.
The Baoulé people (name taken from a legend, "Bauli", "the son is dead") form one of the largest tribes in Côte d'Ivoire.
The African dance masks Mblo are part of one of the oldest Baoulé artistic traditions and frequently represent an idealized character whose certain aesthetic characteristics will be privileged. They occur during dance events accompanied by music and songs, such as celebrations, visits by personalities, entertainment featuring various satirical scenarios. This face imbued with a serene expression forms a "portrait" mask ndoma. The visual effect manifested thanks to the curves and rounding exudes great softness. When the subject of a portrait mask dies, the mask is no longer used. Each of these masks is distinguished ...


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Kongo Cross
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African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Kongo Cross

Among the Kongo chiefs at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, the crucifix held the place, among the chief regalia, as a symbol of power and authority. A ceremony during the inauguration of the chief required that the future leader receive from the hands of a dignitary, in a codified ritual, a nkangi kiditu. This badge, inspired by ancient Christian crucifixes imported by the Portuguese in the 16th century, could also have a therapeutic function, and, in addition to various uses, be brandished during funeral ceremonies during which the object was subjected to libations of oil or of palm wine.
The cross would not be a motif specific to the Christian world, the Kongo considering that the four ...


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Tikar Bronze
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African art > Jars, amphoras, pots, matakam > Tikar Bronze

Recurring within Tikar decorative art, figures with salient features, slender and arched limbs adorn this vase. Concentric and parallel patterns adorn the surface. Black patina with golden reflections. Abrasions.
The identity of the collector will be transmitted upon acquisition.
Located in the border region of Nigeria, the North West province of Cameroon, the Grassland is made up of several ethnic groups: Tikar, Anyang, Widekum, Chamba, Bamoun and Bamileke. The chiefs of the Cameroonian Grasslands, the Fon, reputed to hold treasures of works of art, including bracelets, necklaces, statues, bells, valued the founders and sculptors in the service of the kingdom. These productions, without which the chief would lose his prestige, aimed to magnify the role of the fon. The ...


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Hemba Scepter
African art > Fly swatter, staff of power, royal sceptre > Hemba Scepter

In African art, a panel of objects, the regalia, made up of headdresses, seats, weapons, crowns, scepters, cups and drinking horns, belong to the chiefs. They magnify and reinforce their authority. An emblem of power and prestige, this fly swatter is sculpted with a singiti ancestor figurine.
Satin brown patina.
The Hemba, established in the south-east of Zaire, on the right bank of the Lualaba, have long been subject to the neighboring Luba empire which had a certain influence on their culture. The cult of ancestors, whose effigies have long been attributed to the Luba, is central in Hemba society. All aspects of the community are imbued with the authority of the ancestors. Thus, these are considered to have influence on justice, medicine, law and sacrifices. The singiti ...


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180.00

Guro Mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Guro Mask

This type of mask from the Gyé, or Dyé society, banned, could not be seen by women. African mask from Ivory Coast, sacred mask embodying a spirit of nature, it is similar to the Zamblé, a mythical male hero. Often narrow and curved, it presents a lively polychromy.

Among the Mande group from the south, in central Ivory Coast, on the banks of the Bandama, the Gouro are organized into lineages. Animists, they have used a family of masks associated with the Zaouli dance since the 1950s. Guro masks, linked to the geniuses of nature, come in two zoomorphic masks followed by a third anthropomorphic. These masks are the property of families practicing the cult of lineage ancestors, who make ritual and sacrificial use of them in order to attract divine blessings. Priest and ...


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180.00

Chokwe Statuette
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Chokwe Statuette

Very detailed, this African sculpture glorifies the ancestor and mythical hero founder of the ethnic group, Chibinda Ilunga. The chief, with oversized palms and feet, has a nobiliary headdress with curved side wings (cipenya-mutwe), wicker frame covered with fabric, brass, leather, and pearls. The chief had taught his people the art of hunting.
Orange patina, cracks, micro-chips.

The Tschokwe, of Bantu culture, had settled in eastern Angola, but also in Congo and Zambia. Following various alliances, they mixed with the Lunda who taught them hunting. Their social organization also rubbed off on Tschokwe society. The Tschokwe however ended up dominating over the Lunda whose kingdom was dismantled at the end of the 19th century.


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190.00

Komo mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Komo mask

Among primitive art masks, this African mask of the Nsembu type was produced in male-female pairs, and was used by the society of diviners Nkunda within the clans living in the north of the Ituri region.
Satin patina. Height on base: 53 cm.
The Kumu, Bakumu, Komo, live mainly in the North-East and in the center of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their Bantu language is Komo or Kikomo. Several ethnic groups are closely intertwined, endowed with similar associations: the Mbole, the Yela, the Lengola, and the Metoko. Their artistic production also presents great similarities with that of the Metoko and the Lengola. Their divination masks were exhibited during the closing ceremonies of the initiation and circumcision of the young people of the nkunda society. It is ...


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