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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.

Bariba figurine
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Bariba figurine

Statues of the Bariba (Baatonu), a group living in the Borgou region in northern Benin, are infrequent.
It is a female statue in a kneeling position, an attitude indicating devotion. The features are reminiscent of the Vinavi twin figures of the Ewe. In addition to the facial scars, carefully traced incisions on the back form geometric patterns depicting traditional scarifications.
Smooth, clear patina, resulting from frequent ritual libations composed of Shea oil and kaolin. We find a quality decoration, old glass beads.
Piece collected "in situ" in 1980 and dating from the 1970s. Desication cracks.


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Mangbetu mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Mangbetu mask

African mask of the Mangbetu, whose ears wear rings. Orange oiled wood. erosions.
Height on base: 50 cm.
The geometric patterns evoke the body paintings and tribal scarifications of the Mangbetu, similar to those of the Asua pygmies with whom the tribe had relations. These varied according to the circumstances. The fan hairstyle was worn by the Mangbetu: from an early age, children suffered compression of the cranium by means of raffia ties. Later, the Mangbetu would "knit" their hair on wicker strands and apply a headband to the forehead in order to extract the hair and produce that particular headdress which accentuates the elongation of the head. The ancients call beli the sculptures of ancestors stored out of sight and comparable to those belonging to their secret ...


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Tabouret Luba
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African art > Stool > Tabouret Luba

Tribal art collection put up for sale by Jan Putteneers.

Adland of sculpted foundations, regalia of prestige, in the primitive African art.
This female effigy of an ancestor, "recepacle of a deceased sovereign leader" (Luba, Roberts) supports with his fingers fanned the circular tray resting on his cylindrical headdress. The protruding scarifications in the ear converging towards the umbilical, "centre of the world" associated with lineage, those of the lower abdomen, the fullness of volumes, testify to notions of fertility. This stool named lupona, or kioni, kipona, kiona , according to the sources, constitutes the meeting point of the sovereign, his people, and protective spirits and ancestors, where symbolically and spiritually intermingle past and present . It once ...


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Idoma statue
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African art > Maternity, statues, bronze, wood > Idoma statue

Altar figure belonging to a widespread cult among the animist Idoma as well as among the Igala and the Yoruba of the South, supposed to promote fertility and protect offspring. These statues which benefited from offerings were preserved in sanctuaries. The bust bears the motifs associated with traditional tribal scarifications and tattoos.
Matte grainy polychromy.
The Idoma live at the confluence of the Bénué and the Niger. Numbering 500,000, they are farmers and traders. There are Igbo, Cross River and Igala influences in their art and customs and it is often difficult to distinguish them from their neighbours. Royal lineage members of their oglinye society, glorifying courage, wear masks and crests during funerals and festivities. They also produce fertility statues ...


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Beembe statue
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Beembe statue

The Beembé are appreciated in African art for the care and finishing given to the sculptures of ancestors.
Couple of statues figured side by side. Intricate keloid tattoos are drawn in relief from the chest to the pubis. These scarifications bear witness to the successive stages of initiation to which an individual has been subjected. Sometimes set with ivory or earthenware, the almond-shaped eyes are encrusted with horn. This type of sculpture formed a support intended for the rituals of the Lemba society, with a view to healing for example. Golden satin patina, dark highlights, deep erosions.
Established on the plateaus of the People's Republic of Congo ex.Brazzaville, and not to be confused with the Bembe group of northern Lake Tanganinyika, the small Babembé group, ...


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490.00  392.00

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

African mask offering a spherical head separated by large eyelids from the narrow plane of the cheeks. The streaks are printed here in alternating directions, reinforcing the volumes. The term Kifwebe designates the mask, the society of masks, and the wearer of the mask belonging to the male secret society bwadi bwa kifwebe which ensured the social control. Matt patina. Small chips and cracks.
In the 16th century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba, in Katanga and Kasaï. Very present in their society, divination made it possible to discover sorcerers and to shed light on the causes of the misfortunes that struck individuals. The masked performances of male masks provided an opportunity to carry out punitive expeditions and ...


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280.00  224.00

Makonde Fetish
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African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Makonde Fetish

African Art Makonde.
Fetish horn from which emerges a sculpted head evoking lipoko and lipico masks. Huge ears frame the realism of expressive features. What takes the place of a bust is wrapped in woven fibers, twisted copper wires, and finally animal skin. The whole is coated with a black patina. Height on base: 51 cm.

The Makonde of northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania wore helmet masks called lipiko during initiation ceremonies for young people. The Makonde venerate an ancestor, which explains the abundance of naturalistic female statuary. Besides the face masks worn during mapiko dances and ngoma ceremonies that educate young people about the demands of marriage and family life. the Makonde also produce body masks featuring the female bust. For the Makonde, ...


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280.00  224.00

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

The Baoulé in African art.
This entertaining African mask is surmounted by braids gathered in shells like a tiara. The eyelids are coated with white pigments. The face is bordered by a trim with geometric patterns and extended by an outgrowth evoking a beard. Traditional raised scars are called ngole. . Object carved in dense wood. Brown, black and reddish brown patina, kaolin highlights.

Baoulé masks correspond to three types of dance: the gba gba, for the funeral of women, the bonu amuen for the commemoration of the dead of notables and the goli for various events. These masks which do not represent ancestors but sometimes young teenagers are worn by men. It is in order to reconcile the favors of the "amwin" spirits, providers of prosperity, health or even security, ...


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280.00  224.00

Igbo mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Igbo mask

African art and the spectacular crest masks of the Igbo ethnic group.
African Igbo Mask Agbogo Mmwo offering classic criteria glorifying youth and beauty according to traditional Igbo design. The high headdress is made up of openwork discs mixed with braids and animal figures.
The white color of the mask relates to ancestral spirits, these masks frequently accompanying the deceased during funeral rites. Abraded matte patina, subtle polychrome, desiccation cracks.
The Igbo live in the forest in southeastern Nigeria. They managed to combine a deep sense of individuality with an equally strong sense of belonging to the group. Their political system is complex and little known. The village is the most important social unit, the smallest being the extended family. Each ...


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Kongo Statue
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Kongo Statue

Ex Belgian art collection.

This particular monoxyle piece is composed of a character whose feet are derived from a circular base keeping him in balance. At the back of the room is a large board to which the character seems tied by ties around the neck and ankles. The character is endowed with impressive and expressive facial features, in particular his fleshy open mouth revealing thick teeth. This statue could represent a convict at a judicial ceremony. In the thirteenth century, the Kongo people, led by his king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads between the current DRC, Angola and Gabon. Two centuries later, the Portuguese came into contact with the Kongo and converted their king to Christianity. Although monarchical, the Kongo political system presented a ...


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Lega mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lega mask

This African mask is used during the initiation rites of the Bwami society. This is open to both men and women. The passage of a rank indicated the acquisition of a certain individual wisdom and morality. Abraded two-tone patina. Residues of kaolin. Missing on the contours.
Within the Lega, the Bwami society open to men and women,organized social and political life. There were up to seven levels of initiation, each associated with emblems. Following their exodus from Uganda during the seventeenth century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also known as Warega, they live in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades, usually on hilltops. The role of chief, kindi, is held by the oldest man in the clan, who must be the highest ranking. ...


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Ibedji figures
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Ibedji figures

The Ibeji, substitute images in African art.
Traditionally carved from iroko, whose roots and leaves are also used for ritual purposes, these "ere" (statues) figures of twins are in the form of couple figures. The pieces are bound together with cowrie shells, constituting, along with metal and beads, the "abiku", protective ornaments. In the language of the Yoruba people, ibeji means twin: ibi for born and eji for two. They represent the figure of a deceased twin. This ibedji is then treated as the missing child would have been. It is the mother who must take care of him; she can wash and feed him regularly. If she dies, it is the remaining twin who takes over.
Sometimes a man would also have ibeji carved for his wife to induce pregnancy. As a carrier of the twin's ...


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Yoruba statue
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African art > Maternity, statues, bronze, wood > Yoruba statue

This sculpture of African tribal art was destined to sit on an altar. Facilitating communication with the sacred, it symbolically reminds the divinity of its duties towards men. Wearing a braided bun, she sports the keloids of Yoruba nobles, distinctive markers of Yoruba tribal statuary. Smooth gray brown patina. Desication cracks.
The kingdoms of Oyo and Ijebu arose following the disappearance of the Ifé civilization and are still the basis of the political structure of the Yoruba . The Oyo created two cults centered on the Egungun and Sango societies, still active, who venerate their gods, the Orisa, through ceremonies call for masks, statuettes, scepters and divination supports.

The main Yoruba cults are the Gélédé, Epa, Ogboni cults, and the Esu cult, through which a ...


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Yaka Statue
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Yaka Statue

These African statues carved according to Yaka formal standards, were made following the instructions of the Nganga ngoombu and the sponsor of the object. This statue is distinguished by the quality of its balanced structure and by its face reproducing the masks of the group, equipped with an identifiable trumpet nose. Glossy black-garnet patina. Desication cracks, abrasions.

Hierarchical and authoritarian, made up of formidable warriors, Yaka society was governed by lineage leaders with the right to life and death over their subjects. Hunting and the prestige that results from it are nowadays an opportunity for the Yaka to invoke the ancestors and to resort to rituals using charms linked to the "khosi" institution. The youth initiation society is the n-khanda, which is found ...


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250.00

Makonde mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Makonde mask

African face mask Makonde associated with an ancestral spirit. This sculpture is characterized by a deeply sunken look highlighting the relief of the cheekbones and the ears placed in height. The hairstyle forms a double crest. A labret deforms the upper lip. Dark satin patina.
Height on base: 37 cm.

The Makonde of northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania wore helmet masks called lipiko during initiation ceremonies for young people. The Makonde venerate an ancestor, which explains the abundance of naturalistic female statuary. Besides the face masks worn during mapiko dances and ngoma ceremonies that educate young people about the demands of marriage and family life. the Makonde also produce body masks featuring the female bust. For the Makonde, the ancestors would return ...


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290.00  232.00

Figure Luba
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Figure Luba

This type of female African figure, among the Luba, was often linked to fecundity and fertility rituals. The posture would further indicate that the secrets of royalty, bizila, belong to the women at the Luba court through their role as political and spiritual intermediaries. The female figurative subjects would represent for the Lubas the wife of the diviner, hence its importance in the process of bilumbu divination. According to some Lubas, however, although a woman, she would represent the first Luba diviner, and would also be an allegory of royalty linked to the powerful Mbudye society associated with royal power. ("Luba" Roberts.) Beautiful satin patina, erosions and gaps.
The Luba (Baluba in Chiluba) are a people of Central Africa. Their cradle is Katanga, more precisely ...


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240.00  192.00

Kouyou statue
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Kouyou statue

African puppet emblematic of the Kouyou type, intended for the dance kibe-kibe, or Ebokita (S.Diakonoff) this sculpture refers to the ancestor mythical Oso. The face bears scarified patterns, and the mouth reveals sharp teeth.
Polychrome satin patina. Erosions and cracks.
Formerly, the Kouyou were divided into two totemic clans: in the West that of the panther, and in the East that of the snake. A secret men's association, Ottoté, played an important political role in the appointment of chiefs. The initiation of young people ended with the revelation of the serpent god Ebongo represented in the form of a head. The Kibe-kibe or Kebekebe dances, which accompanied the ceremony, reactivated the successive stages of creation. The panther clan had a drum as their emblem. ...


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290.00  232.00

Niongom statue
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Niongom statue

Named "Nommo shicouroulé" by the Niongom, this type of figure marrying the natural shape of a branch would embody the primordial man created by the god Ama, supposed to inspire the religious leader Hogon. The inclined bust, long hands flattened on the thighs, the character offers his profile. Continuous dotted linear facial and body scarifications extend onto the cup and the small dome on which the figure is perched.
Velvety matte patina, locally abraded blackish coating. Small erosions.
Carved for the most part to order placed by a family and in this case placed on the family altar Tiré Kabou, the Dogon tribal statues can also be the object of cults of the part of the whole community when they commemorate, for example, the foundation of the village. These statues, sometimes ...


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Zulu Shield
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African art > African Shield > Zulu Shield

African Art Zulu.
This Zulu dance shield, slightly convex, displays a furrowed surface, hollowed out with parallel bands in duotone.
During the 19th century, tribes united to form the group called Zulu, whose local chiefs, led by the king, are called iduma. Their society is that of warriors organized into age groups. It was in 1884 that they were annexed by the English. Skilled in making ornaments, the Zulus work with leather, metal and ceramics, adding feathers and beads. Matt patina, small chips.


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Sanza Luba
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African art > Tam Tam, Djembe, musical instruments > Sanza Luba

Widespread in Central Africa, this musical instrument or sanza surmounted by a figure provides a sound box with metal slats. The thumbs of both hands will rest on the soundboard to vibrate the front ends of the tongues. Grainy brown patina, abrasions and desication cracks.
Height on base: 45 cm.
The Luba (Baluba in Chiluba) are a people of Central Africa. Their cradle is Katanga, more precisely the region of the Lubu river, thus the name (Baluba, which means “the Lubas”). The Luba have two types of figures: the mikisi mihasi , embodying deceased relatives or spirits, and the mikisi mihake , sculptures dedicated to containing a magic charge, in the head or abdomen, in order to solve a problem. The Shankadi belong to the luba group, and have the same associations and ...


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Kusu rattle
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African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Kusu rattle

Ex-Luxembourg African art collection.
Sculpted object used by soothsayers, whose anthropomorphic motif recalls the nkisi fetishes of the Songye. Golden brown satin patina, cracks.
The Kusu established on the left bank of the Lualaba have borrowed the artistic traditions of the Luba and the Hemba and have a caste system similar to that Luba . In this region, between the Bembe, Boyo, Hemba, Songye and Tetela, ritual objects were subject to stylistic exchanges and influences. We note here a similarity with Songye fetishes. The singiti statues 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, masculine such as the bukazanzi, and feminine, the bukibilo, ...


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