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African art items:


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.

Benin head
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Benin head

The African art of Benin is described as court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as the Oba. The tradition of bronze court objects from the Benin Kingdom dates back to the 14th century. The palace altars were topped with heads, statues, carved ivory tusks, bells and staves. They were used to commemorate an oba and to get in touch with his spirit. This late sculpture, reminiscent of those made when the queen died, features a queen mother of Benin named the Iyoba, whose neck is encircled with multiple necklaces of coral beads. Her high hairstyle was also made up of a mesh of pearls falling on either side of her face. After the birth of the future king, the queen was "removed" from power and could no longer father. But at the end of the 15th century the Oba Esigie ...


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Kuba Basket
African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Kuba Basket

Circular box made of wickerwork, with a lid that fits together. The dense, elaborate weaving incorporates certain geometric patterns borrowed from scarification, also visible on shoowa raffia textiles. The inner edge of the lid is missing.

The Kuba are renowned for the refinement of prestige objects created for the higher ranks of their society. The Lele live to the west of the Kuba kingdom and share common cultural characteristics with the Bushoong of Kuba country. Both groups decorate their prestige objects with similar motifs.
The extremely organized and hierarchical Kuba society placed at its center a king or nyim inspiring the statuary of the ethnic group.
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Source: Kuba, ed. 5continents, Binkley and Darish.


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65.00

Yoruba Rider
African art > Bronze rider, wooden rider, dogon, yoruba > Yoruba Rider

Within the Yoruba pantheon, Orunmila is the "orisa" deity that one consults in case of problem through divination ifà thanks to the diviner babalawo (iyanifà for a woman). Intended to sit enthroned on the ritual altar, this Yoruba-type sculpture is made up of a box intended for the sacred palm nuts, carried by a horseman figure. The character would embody Esu or Elegba, divine messenger who unites the orisa to men. Satin patina. Cracks and erosions on the base.
Centered on the veneration of its gods, or orisà, the Yoruba religion relies on artistic sculptures with coded messages (aroko). They are designed by the sculptors at the request of the followers, soothsayers and their customers. These spirits are said to intercede with the supreme god Olodumare. The kingdoms of Oyo and ...


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390.00

Kongo Sceptre
African art > Stick of command, chieftaincy > Kongo Sceptre


The Kongos (also known as Bakongos, which is the plural of N'Kongo in Kikongo, live on the Atlantic Ocean coast of Africa Pointe-Noire, (Republic of Congo) until Luanda (Angola) in the South and as far as the province of Bandundu (Democratic Republic of Congo) Superbly crafted, the Kongo command scepters constituted, among the jewels, weapons, recades and statuary, the regalia essential to their status and power. ornaments, pictographs and effigies carved on the sticks evoked proverbs, illustrated the qualities of a chief, told, from section to section, the history of the tribe and insisted on the qualities required to reign. belonging to the royal entourage also benefited from the same coded iconography.
This prestigious emblem comes in the form of an effigy of a chef in a ...


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240.00

Ngbandi figure
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Ngbandi figure

A faceted face with a protruding chin, offering the traditional striations punctuating the nasal bridge, and a small figure with truncated arms, separated from the crater bust carried by ringed legs. Oiled patina, nuanced, reddish brown.
The many carved objects are, among the Ngandi, related to hunting and magic. Some represent the Ngbirondo spirit and act as guardians of the village.
Funerary statues were also used, and sculptures of couple yangba and his sister, equivalent to the Seto and Nabo ancestors of the Ngbaka.

The Ngbaka form a homogeneous people in the north-west of the DRC, south of Ubangui. The Ngbandi live in the east (on the left bank of the Oubangui) and the Ngombe in the south. The initiation of young people, "gaza" or "ganza" (which gives ...


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280.00

Luba mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Luba mask

In the southeastern region of Katanga, around the 1960s, the Zela, long subject to the Lubas whose customs and rites they borrowed, carved animal masks, like the Lubas and the Kundas. In 1970, the kifwebe company was subjected to a transformation which was accompanied by new masks. In the Zela and Kundas groups, however, this type of mask was manifested during secular theatrical ceremonies involving tales. Matte patina with polychrome highlights. Abrasions and cracks.
Formerly subject to the Luba, then to the Lundas, the Zela have adopted a large part of their customs and traditions. Established between the Luvua River and Lake Kisalé, they are today organized into four chiefdoms under the supervision of leaders of Luba origin. They venerate a primordial couple frequently ...


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175.00

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

In the south-eastern region of Katanga, around the 1960s, the Zela Zela, long subject to the Lubas, from whom they borrowed their customs and rituals, carved animal masks, like the Lubas and the Kundas. In 1970 indeed, the kifwebe society was subjected to a transformation which was accompanied by new masks. In the Zela and Kundas groups, however, this type of mask was used in profane theatrical ceremonies featuring fairy tales. Matte granular patina. Old restorations of an ear and the contour.
Once subject to the Luba, then the Lundas, the Zela adopted many of their customs and traditions. Established between the Luvua River and Lake Kisalé, they are now organized into four chiefdoms under the supervision of leaders of Luba origin. They venerate a primordial couple frequently ...


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175.00

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

This type of symbolic sculpture was used during enthronement rites. Grainy, velvety black patina. Desication cracks.
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 the mipasi ancestors through sculptures held by chiefs or sorcerers. A magical charge (dawa) was frequently placed on top of the statues' heads. Soothsayers-healers used this type of object to reveal witchcraft and protect against malevolent spirits. .
Simple farmers without centralized power, the Tabwa federated around tribal chiefs after coming under the influence of the Luba. It was mainly during this period that their artistic current was expressed mainly through statues but also ...


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240.00

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

Statuette featuring a dancer from the Pende Minganji masquerade from Zaire, wearing his full raffia fishnet costume. Léon de Sousberghe identified two types of masks, the minganji associated with male society and the mbuya masks associated with the village, with a few exceptions.
The Western Pende live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the Eastern settled on the banks of the Kasaï downstream from Tshikapa. The influences of neighboring ethnic groups, Mbla, Suku, Wongo, Leele, Kuba and Salempasu 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 ...


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180.00

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

Belgian African art collection.
The African tribal art proves to us once again that any everyday object can become an artistic medium. The decorative aspect of an object is indeed never its intrinsic function. In African art, any everyday object can be transformed into a masterpiece while retaining its usefulness. The major role held by women in the political life of the kingdom is illustrated by the recurrence of the female motif in Luba art. The latter, which stood out for its prestige and quality, therefore greatly influenced the neighboring groups. This comb is surmounted by a protective effigy embodying a political and spiritual intermediary, a role played by women in Luba royalty. Her headdress, behind a wide band revealing a shaved forehead, evokes one of those worn by Luba ...


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90.00

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

Sober version of the Igbo mask associated with the spirit of a young girl. The headdress is made up of three braids in a vertical bouquet. The scarifications here are discreet, in the cob, and in hatching on the forehead. Slight lack on the outline, abrasions.
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.
The village is the most important social unit, the smallest being the extended family. Each village has a high degree of autonomy and is placed under the authority of the oldest lineage head.
The religion of the Igbo includes on the one hand the god Chuku, supreme creator, considered omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, and on the other hand the spirit ...


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150.00

Kurumba mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Kurumba mask

Totemic figure in African Kurumba art This crest mask, emblematic of most Kurumba clans in northern Burkina, was intended to honor the memory of ancestors during mourning. It could also serve as an altar in the house housing the spirits of the ancestors of the lineage. Evoking the hippotrague antelope, it displays, from a semi-spherical facial mask, a long neck on which the head of the animal develops.

Tapered, slender lines, evoking agility, and geometric decorative motifs distinguish this mask. Smooth, satin patina, shaded with ochre.
Dessication cracks. The African art sculptures of the Bobo , Bwa , Kurumba and Mossi , living in Burkina Faso , frequently take up and combine stylized elements borrowed from humans, animals or even insects. It is ...


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

An ancestor figure intended to sit on an altar, this African tribal art figure, bears the facial and body scarification of the Batabwa clans.
Dark glossy patina, abrasions.
The Tabwa ("scarify" and "write") are an ethnic group found in southeastern DRC, around Lake Tanganyika. Tribes in this region, such as the Tumbwe , worship ancestors mipasi through carvings held by chiefs or sorcerers. A magical charge ( dawa )was frequently inserted atop the statues' heads. The diviners-healers used this type of object to reveal sorcery and protect against malevolent spirits.
Simple farmers without centralized power, the Tabwa federated around tribal chiefs after having been influenced by the Luba. It was mainly during this period that their artistic current was ...


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

This type of object, human figures perched on the shoulders of their fellows, is characteristic of sculptures associated with enthronement rites. Brown satin patina. The Tabwa ("scarify" and "write") are an ethnic group found in southeastern DRC, around Lake Tanganyika. Tribes in this region, such as the Tumbwe , worship ancestors mipasi through carvings held by chiefs or witch doctors. A magical charge ( dawa )was frequently inserted atop the statues' heads. The diviners-healers used this type of object to reveal sorcery and protect against malevolent spirits.
Simple farmers without centralized power, the Tabwa federated around tribal chiefs after having been influenced by the Luba. It was mainly during this period that their artistic current was expressed mainly ...


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Tschokwe mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Tschokwe mask

Large braided hairstyle for this African mask of the Chokwe. This hairstyle is reminiscent of the red earth-coated hairstyle of the Chokwe women. A chiseled frieze of checkerboards delimits the forehead. Smooth reddish brown patina. Peacefully settled in eastern Angola until the 16th century, the Chokwe were then subjected to the Lunda empire from which they inherited a new hierarchical system and the sacredness of power. Nevertheless, the Chokwe never fully adopted these new social and political contributions. Three centuries later, they eventually seized the capital of the Lunda weakened by internal conflicts, contributing to the dismantling of the kingdom. The Chokwé did not have centralized power but rather large chiefdoms. They were the ones who attracted artists eager to put ...


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Lunda mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lunda mask

African mask of great sculptural quality, the features and volumes being modeled with precision and realism, giving rise to a delicate face of a very young woman. Smooth, reddish-brown patina. Edge erosions.
Height on base: 36 cm.
Of Lunda origin, the Lwena emigrated from Angola to Zaire in the 19th century, repelled by the Chokwe. When some became slave traders, other groups found refuge in Zambia, forming the Luvale, Lovale. Their society is matrilineal, exogamous and polygamous. 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. Their ...


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390.00

Gouro mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Gouro mask

African mask Guro, sculpted in the image of the works of the master of Bouafle. It depicts a face with fine features wearing an amulet as dictated by the custom among Guro women. This mask intervened with Zamble and Zaouli, but would no longer be used today. ("Guro", ed. 5Continents, pl.13) Reddish brown matte patina. Abrasions and lack on the internal contour.

Among the group of Mande from the south, in the center of Côte d'Ivoire, on the banks of the Bandama, the Gouro are organized into lineages, and constitute the western neighbors of the Baoulé who borrowed several characteristics from their African tribal art creations. Animists, since the 1950s they have been using a family of masks associated with the Zaouli dance. Indeed, like the African Goli masks of the Baoulé, ...


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

Before the destruction of the palace of the kingdom of Benin in 1897, the divine character of the kings, the Oba, was illustrated by multiple works celebrating their power. War scenes were reproduced on narrative plaques, in bronze, and affixed to the walls. Sumptuous bronze altars, commemorative figures of deceased chiefs, heavy bracelets, anklets and recades were produced in quantity in many foundry workshops using the lost wax casting technique.
The killing of the king of animals associated with legends, the leopard, was the privilege of the chief, the Oba. The feline could then serve as an offering for the cult of the chief's head. Sometimes tamed by various royal guilds, it accompanied the leader on his travels. The Oba, named "child of the leopard of the house", could also ...


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120.00

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

Sculpted with sensitivity, this naturalistic figure is devoid of integumentary ornaments. The facial features have been carefully modeled, imprinting the labial deformation due to the traditional labret.
Beautiful oiled patina encrusted with red pigments.
The Makonde, a matrilineal Bantu people of northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania, wore helmet masks called lipiko, mapiko, during initiation ceremonies for young people . The Makonde worship an ancestor, which explains the abundance of relatively naturalistic female statuary. In addition to face masks, midimu, the Makonde also produce body masks featuring the female bust, exalting fertility.


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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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Ngbaka mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Ngbaka mask

Initiation rituals and Ngbaka tribal art.
Despite the absence of streaks on the nasal bridge, this mask has been identified as coming from the Ngbaka. It is the orbits that offer here a succession of grooves, accentuating the arch of the eyebrows. Unusual also, the perforations of the contours of the mouth. Neat sculpture displaying a smooth, satin, mahogany brown patina. Slight losses and small accidents.
Tribe settled on the left bank of the Ubangui, the Ngbaka practice agriculture, and their artistic achievements were inspired by those of the neighboring tribes Ngbandi and Ngombe , with a distinctive feature however, the line of the forehead dotted with linear keloids. They are organized in tribes without political unity, under the tutelage of the chief wan and ...


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380.00





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