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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.

Bwami Mukuba s Lega Hairstyle
African art > Headdress Hat > Headdress Lega

This type of head adornment is worn by members of the highest ranks of the secret society, which governs the social structure, open to circumcised adults and their wives, and which educates its members in terms of moral perfection. These objects are part of the masengo , meaning that they are sacred and therefore can only be worn by initiates.  The owner cannot part with them during his lifetime.  The Bwami has different degrees, the yananio and kindi being the highest. The materials used vary, they can be buttons for clothing, cowries, beads or cocoa beans.  On a carefully braided cap made of natural fibers, this headgear is entirely covered with cowries, a barter currency originally imported from the Indian Ocean by Hausa merchants. This cap was once topped with elephant ...


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240.00

Masquette Songye Kifwebe
African art > African mask > Songye Mask

African art among the Songye.
This reduced mask, flanked by two small vertical ears or horns, forms a variant of the "wooden mask" Kifwebe ( plural Bifwebe), of which the same type was produced by the Luba and Songye. The term Kifwebe refers to the mask, the society of masks, and the wearer of the mask belonging to the male secret society bwadi bwa kifwebe which provided social control. There are three variants: the masculine (kilume) generally with a high peak, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low or even absent peak, and finally the tallest embodying power (kia ndoshi). Matt patina locally flaked.
Height on base : 33 cm.

These African masks are equipped with holes on their outline so that, for the most important ceremonies, a costume can be ...


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120.00

Horseman Dogon in bronze
African art > African bronze > Bronze Dogont

The frequent representations of the rider, among the Dogon of Mali, refer to their cosmogony and their complex religious myths. Indeed, one of the Nommos, ancestors of men, resurrected by the creator god Amma, descended on the earth carried by an arch transformed into a horse. Moreover, the highest authority of the Dogon people, the religious leader named Hogon, paraded on his mount during his induction because it was customary for him not to set foot on the ground. In the region of the cliffs of Sangha, inaccessible on horseback, the priests wore it, while whining in reference to the mythical ancestor Nommo. The Dakar-Djibouti mission of 1931, led by Marcel Griaule, was tasked with studying in depth the rites of this population established in the Groupiagara Cliffs region, southwest of ...


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250.00

Yaure Mask, Yohoure
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African art > African mask > Yaure Mask

br>Surmounted by a scene depicting hornbills drinking, this African mask of the je, or ye, is represented wearing a tripartite hairstyle associated with wealth. This specimen named Anoman, Lomane, (bird in baoulé) is part of the fourth of the seven masks je that originally danced around the deceased and bent over to touch him for purifying purposes. It also appears nowadays during celebrations. Abraded polychrome patina.
The Yaouré are a subgroup of the Akan people present in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. Geographically close to the Baule and Gouros, one can feel the influence of these ethnic groups in yoghurt art through their attention to detail and aesthetics. The African art masks Yaoure, or Yauré, of which the Baoule have similar models, are divided into two ...


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Horseman Sao Sokoto in bronze
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African art > African bronze > Bronze Sao

This bronze has a copper patina. The warrior represented on his mount has his head wrapped in a chestnut identical to those of the Tuaregs. Base in addition.
In African art, Sao Sokoto-inspired works are mostly imbued with the equestrian world. Within the ethnic group, small examples of riders, generally in bronze, are melted and worn like talismans, patinated and polished by friction. They are considered above all as a remedy to fight against possession by evil spirits. The horse represents the spirit of the person who is possessed, while the genie who possesses it is symbolized by the rider. Subjected to successive assaults from their neighbors in Kanem and then to hordes coming from the East, the Sao had to abandon their land to settle in the North-West of Cameroon ...

Dan Zapkei mask
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African art > African mask > Dan mask

This African mask from Ivory Coast is distinguished by its round eyes. It has a granular patina resulting from sacrificial coatings. A small raffia beard adorns the chin, while long mats frame the face. It is characterized in particular by the surprising excrescences pointing on both sides of the nose. Matte patina with orange reflections.
This mask called "running" (pointed face, round hollowed out eyes, rhombic mouth was held against the face with cotton strips attached to the perforations of the contours and tied behind the head. The tradition was that the wearer was chased by an unmasked runner; if he was caught, he had to pass the mask to the winner, who in turn would be chased by another runner. These races were once intended to train men to run and fight. This type of ...


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Statue Dogon Bombou-Toro
African art > African Statues > Statue Dogon

Characteristic of the central part of the Bandiagara cliff, Bombou-toro, this hermaphroditic figure is distinguished by the circular block of shoulders, long slender limbs, conical chest, and scarified motifs. Crusty matte patina. Inlaid libatory deposits. Cracks.
Sculpted for the most part on commission by a family, Dogon statues can also be the object of worship by the entire community when they commemorate, for example, the founding of the village. However, their functions remain little known. Alongside Islam, Dogon religious rites are organized around four main cults: the Lebe, relating to fertility, under the spiritual authority of the Hogon; the Wagem, cult of the ancestors under the authority of the patriarch; the Binu invoking the spirit world and led by the Binu ...


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390.00

Songye Nkisi fetish statuette
African art > African fetish > Songye Fetish

A small Songye sculpture, finely detailed and devoid of accessories such as the horn at the top in which the magical ingredients were housed. The abdominal cup is also empty. Patient chocolate satin.
The Songye came from the Shaba region of DRC and settled along the Lualaba river in the middle of savannah and forests. Their society is organized in a patriarchal way. Their history is inseparable from that of the Luba to whom they are related through common ancestors. Very present in their society, divination allowed them to discover sorcerers and to shed light on the causes of the misfortunes that befell individuals. They are governed by the yakitengé and by local chiefs. The secret society Bwami counterbalances their power, however. Their male masks, with occult powers, ...


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280.00

Masque facial Okua Idoma
African art > African mask > Idoma Mask

African mask associated with funeral rites, of a naturalist type, it offers a face coated with white clay and marked with traditional keloids in vertical barrette, also present in the Igbos, cheekbones protruding under large eye cavities, a cut dentition. Light matt patina locally abraded, red ochre highlights. Erosion of contours.
The Idoma settled at the confluence of the Benue and Niger rivers. They number 500,000 and are made up of farmers and merchants. The neighborhood and thus the influences of the Igbo, Cross River and Igala ethnic groups have given rise to stylistic borrowings and great tribal similarities. Members of the royal lineage of their society oglinye , glorifying courage, use masks and crests during funerals and festivities. They also produce ...


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180.00

Masque casque Bulu Ngi
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African art > African mask > Bulu Mask

Belgian tribal art collection

This mask with an ovoid skull under which the eyeballs are glazed, has a gaping, toothless mouth, a wide orifice on the spot of the nose, and would embody an orangutan. Fragments of animal teeth remain embedded in the jaw holes. The contours of the mask are lined with a raffia braid to which is attached a piece of woven fabric. Locally abraded pink ochre heterogeneous patina. Sparse, crusty residues of libatory substances.
Established in the equatorial forest between Cameroon and Gabon, the Bulu are part of the Fang ensemble. Like the Fangs of South Cameroon famous for their large white masks, the Boulou also practiced the ritual Ngi , Ngil in order to fight witchcraft and poisoning. Ngi is the antropoid monkey, a fearsome animal to which ...


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Masquette Songye Kifwebe
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African art > African mask > Kifwebe Mask

African art among the Songyes.
This mask forms a small copy of the 'wooden mask' Kifwebe (plural Bifwebe), the same type of which was produced by the Luba and Songye. The term Kifwebe refers to the mask, the society of masks, and the wearer of the mask belonging to the secret male society bwadi bwa kifwebe which provided social control. There are three variants: the masculine (kilume) usually with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low crest or absent, and finally the largest embodying power (kia ndoshi). Height on a base: 31 cm.

These african masks have holes on their outline so that they can attach a costume for the most important ceremonies, including a voluminous beard made of natural fibres. The white streaks would symbolize plumage and the connection ...


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Luba Mask
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African art > African mask > Luba Mask

Ex-collection Belgian African art.
This type of polychrome African luba mask, with a rounded structure, has similarities with the masks of the Songye. However, they did not have the same function. This category of African masks are called "bifwebe". They appeared at funerals and investitures. The nasal appendage extends into a thick ridge at the top, and a cubic mouth protrudes from it. Scaled matte patina, colored highlights. Height on base: 28 cm.
They occurred during the ritual ceremonies of the Kazanzi society, which was responsible for fighting witchcraft. "Bifwebe" (Sing.: kifwebe) would mean, moreover, according to C. Faïk-Nzuji, "to hunt death". Worn with a voluminous raffia collar that concealed the dancer, this mask was usually danced in the company of a zoomorphic ...


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Jar anthropomorphic Zande, Azande
African art > African Jar > Pottery Zande

Vase whose neck features a human head with large pierced ears. A double frieze of geometrical patterns is printed on the sides.
Formerly referred to as " Niam-Niam " because they were considered anthropophagous, the tribes grouped under the name Zande , Azandé , came from Chad to settle on the border of the D.R.C. (Zaire), Sudan and the Central African Republic. According to their beliefs, man is endowed with two souls, one of which is transformed upon his death into the animal-totem of the clan to which he belongs. The African tribal art of the Zande, or "those who own a lot of land", apart from their court art composed of spoons, receptacles, pipes and harps, counts two types of statues : Kudu statues between 30 and 50 cm high represent ancestors. There are also statues ...


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280.00

Etoffe Kuba Ntcak Nuseha Bushoong
African art > African Textile > Textile Cuba

Prestigious fabrics among Kuba.
African art objects. Produced in Zaire by the Shoowa, Bashoowa, mainly, subgroup Kuba, these fabrics forming true paintings of primitive art, consist of a textile base in raffia. The geometrical patterns formed represent the body scarification of the ethnic group or the decorations of the sculptures. These refined fabrics were intended to be used at the royal court, as seat or cover, to enhance its prestige. In many cases, they took on the value of money, or they also followed their owners into the grave by covering the body of the deceased. It was King Shamba Bolongongo who is said to have introduced the technique of weaving to Kuba country in the 17th century. He had previously introduced the Kuba to the art of forging. It was the men who ...


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280.00

Douala Nyatti Mask
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African art > African mask > Douala Mask

African mask board, very graphic, surmounted by horns in arch. It is a stylized, narrow, bovid (nyatti) face, flanked by two wings indicating ears. The piece is embellished with geometric motifs in contrasting colors. A metal blade showing the tongue extends the whole. Abraded patina. Sculpted by sculptors from Douala in the Bay of Cameroon, this type of zoomorphic mask was produced for the initiates of the ekongolo society, still active, to honor the ancestors during ritual ceremonies, and were worn like a helmet. According to the explorer Zintgraff, this mask was also responsible for hunting the uninitiated, which was also the role of the Oku masks of the Grassland. The Douala, living at the mouth of the river Wuri, organized regattas where one could admire, on the ...


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Baoule Moon Mask
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African art > African mask > Baule Mask

Ex-collection French African art.
Appearing nowadays during celebrations associated with the Gbagba dance, this African mask integrates the set of masks associated with natural phenomena, such as the setting sun, the rainbow and the moon, and "warms" the scene before the appearance of more important masks. This circular mask with a chiseled border offers a face topped with mats joined in three lobes that can be seen on many baoulé and yohouré masks. The forehead, the seat of intelligence and wisdom, is emphasized by the raised scarification. The half-closed eyes reinforce the interiority of the expression. Brown and black patina with orange reflections. The African art of the Baoule, Akan group established in the South-East of Ivory Coast, includes a wide range of masks ...


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Ngil s Fang Mask
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African art > African mask > Fang Mask

This African Fang mask illustrates one of the many stylistic variations of the Ngil Fang masks, distinguished by their austere appearance. The face is highlighted with parallel grooves evoking the tribal scarifications in use, and the hairstyle takes up one of the many models worn by the locally abraded bleached Fang.Patine.
The appearance of these masks, usually coated with kaolin (the white color evokes the power of ancestors), in the middle of the night, could cause dread. This type of mask was used by the male society ngil which no longer exists today. This secret society was in charge of initiations and fought against witchcraft. The ngil was a purifying fire rite symbolized by the gorilla. The wearers of these masks, always in large numbers, appeared at night, lit by torches. ...


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Fetish Téké Matomba
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African art > African fetish > Statue Teke

Four statuettes have a common, spherical trunk, in which the magic charge named " Bonga " or "bilongo" is wrapped in different textiles. The faces are wearing a conical, rimmed hat, highlighted with a red cloth. Satin brown patina, abrasions and desication crack. Established between the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Republic of Congo and Gabon, the Téké were organized as chiefdoms, the leader of which was often chosen among the blacksmiths. The head of the family, mfumu , had the right to life or death over his family whose importance determined his prestige. The clan leader, ngantsié , kept the great protective fetish tar mantsié which oversaw all ceremonies. It is the powerful sorcerer-healer and soothsayer who loaded the individual statuettes with magical elements, for a fee. It ...


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Dogon shutter door
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African art > Door shutter > Dogon Gate

The systems of closure of Sudanese regions in African art.
This flap is made up of an assembly of two vertical planks. It has a lock symbolizing the square and its inhabitants. Carefully sculpted, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic representations appeal to the rich Dogon cosmogony. The characters can symbolize previous generations, the mythical ancestors, but the owners of the attic are also frequently featured. Each of the characters at the top of the panel, related to spiritual life, wears a kanaga mask, exhibited by the Dogon during mourning ceremonies. Small scenes at the bottom of the panel also illustrate mythical animals of creation among the Dogon. Dark ochre patina.
The patterns on the gates in Mali, apart from their decorative value, are intended to deter the intruder, ...


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Mask Ci wara of Bamana
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African art > African mask > Ti wara mask

Sculpted by the blacksmith numu, also playing the role of diviner and healer, this vertical, stylized crest is represented here with the successive arches representing the mane of a male antelope. It would be an animal - genie called Ciwara who would have taught the Bambara to cultivate the land. The Bambara remember the myth through the stylized representation of a hippotrague antelope, whose name ci wara means "earth tiger". Wear on the top of the skull and held in place by a basketry toque, these crests accompanied the dancers during the rituals of tòn , an association dedicated to agricultural work. The masks ran across the field, leaping up and down to chase away the evil scents of the nyama and to detect any danger, or to flush out the evil geniuses who could ravish the souls of ...


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Gbékré oracle box Baoulé
African art > African Jar > Baoule Box

Ex-French tribal art collection.
African art divinatory.
Designed to a practice still in use today in the baoulé region of the south-west, the object consists of a mediating tutelary figure, visibly in meditation, leaning on a circular receptacle with a floor. The sides of the box are decorated with parallel lines, the receptacle has in its lower part a circular frieze open. A mouse, considered a messenger of the earth's deities, lived in the lower compartment of the object and the successive arrangement of the elements it moved was read as an answer to the soothsayer's question. The part also has a conveyor belt. A metal plate has been fitted under the box. Beautiful brown patina, smooth, with ochre vegetable paste
Ref.: Mathilde Buratti , \


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250.00





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