Used among the Ashanti and Fantis of Ghana, African doll statuettes Akuaba (plural Akua'mma) are amulets used by women Ashanti to promote fertility. They are easily identifiable thanks to their stylized appearance. Their flat and circular head has a high forehead occupying the upper part, the features are generally drawn in the lower third of the head. A mark of beauty, the often ringed neck also symbolizes prosperity.
Black patina, abrasions.
Carried on the backs of women, these statues are also accompanied by various rites, such as the ingestion of a potion, or the placing of the object on the family altar. After the birth of the child, the sculpture is used as a toy, and sometimes still offered to the healer in order to witness its effectiveness. Satin brown patina.
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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.
Source: Kuba, ed. 5continents, Binkley and Darish.
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African mask in miniature version, fitted with ample arcades pierced with orifices, which, according to certain authors, would represent smallpox scars. Held in the hand, or kept as talismans, this type of reduced mask played its role during circumcision rituals and at the funerals of notables. Black satin patina, minimal abrasions.
Height on base: 21 cm.
Lulua is a generic term, which refers to a large number of heterogeneous peoples who inhabit the region near the Lulua River, between the Kasaï and Sankuru rivers. The Lulua people migrated from West Africa during the 18th century and settled in the southern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire). In 1875, King Lulua, Kalambam, introduced new social and religious rules, which put an end to the ...
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The Matakam also called Mafa form a population of Central Africa, especially present in the extreme north of Cameroon, also in Nigeria.
In Africa, before the colonial period, payments were never made in coins. Transactions were made using cowries, pearls, cattle, kola nuts, but also metals, especially iron. These primitive currencies were used during commercial and social exchanges, for dowries in particular, but could also constitute objects of parade or throwing weapons.
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Used as an amulet credited with apotropaic virtues, this small bronze sculpture constitutes, for the Sao, a talisman supposed to protect them from madness. It is therefore worn permanently.
The genius who possesses the madman is represented by the rider, the horse representing the victim. This horseman wearing a cheche rides an equine which was a rare attribute of prestige in these regions of the Sahel.
The Sao, ancestors of the Kotoko, were established between the 12th and 14th centuries in a geographical area extending over the borders between Chad, northern Cameroon and Nigeria. They established themselves on hills, which enabled them to repel invaders.
Subjected to successive attacks from their neighbors in Kanem and then to hordes from the East, the Sao had to abandon their ...
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African Art Zulu.
This Zulu dance shield, equipped with a handle, offers a geometric, rectilinear shape. The surface is hollowed out with parallel streaks 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.
Matte patina, minor abrasions.
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Large Kongo type mask, carved in dense wood, embellished with various accessories. The face with realistic features offers a glazed look in reference to the mediumistic capacities that the Kongos thought they favored thanks to hallucinogenic plants. The head encrusted with nails recalls the mediating role of nkisi protective fetishes. Polychrome patina, clay aggregates, abrasions.
These mediating masks, also present in initiation processes, were used during healing rituals.
In the 13th century, the Kongo people, led by their king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads of the borders between the current DRC, Angola and Gabon. Two centuries later, the Portuguese came into contact with the Kongo and converted their king to Christianity. This king, also called ntotela, ...
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Attribute of the nganga,, priest-seer, this African mask offers hollowed out pupils emphasizing the mediumistic capacities that the Kongo thought they favored by taking hallucinogenic substances. This type of mask was called ngobudi in reference to something dreadful, terrorizing.
Abraded matte patina, indigo highlights, erosions.
These mediating masks, also present in initiation processes, were used by witch doctors during healing rituals. At the same time, they were also used to identify individuals who, through their actions, could disturb the harmony of the community.
In the 13th century, the Kongo people, led by their king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads of the borders between the current DRC, Angola and Gabon. The "ntotela" king controlled the appointment ...
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Ex-Swiss African art collection. This African mask was the prerogative of the nganga, soothsayer. His psychic abilities, which the Kongo thought they fostered through the taking of hallucinogenic substances, were revealed by the eyes of the hollowed-out pupils. Her tribal hairstyle is accentuated by a braided red cotton headband. These types of masks were called ngobudi in reference to a terrible, terrifying thing. The crusty surface reveals remnants of white and red polychrome coatings. These mediating masks, also present in initiation processes, were used by fetishists during healing rituals. At the same time, they were also used to identify individuals who, through their actions, could disrupt the harmony of the community. In the 13th century, the Kongo people, led by their king ...
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Late sculpture of the Edo type, in bronze alloy. It features a seated dignitary, which could represent the Oba Ewuakpe who was forced to wear a European helmet after being deprived of his prerogatives because of a rebellion.
Black abraded patina.
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 numerous brass heads and statues created by the artists of Benin were reserved for the ...
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A remarkably refined mask divided into areas of contrasting colors, on which discreet lines indicate a human face. The eyebrow ridges underlined in black, sharp on the light kaolin patina or colored with padouk bark, form an element common to the fang, pové, kwélé and tsogho groups. The obamba mask and the adouma mvudi mask are similar in appearance.
Velvety matte patina, erosions.
The Mahongwe, Obamba, Shamayé and Sango form with the Kota a group with similar rites and society. It is in the eastern part of Gabon that they live among the forests. Some crossed the Congo border after going up the sources of the Ogooué.
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Puppet sculpture involved in the fourth initiatory rank of the Bamana Koré society, Bambara, this cane is named, like the horse mask, Kore Duga or the Kore vulture b>.
The name of the mask refers to the satirical behavior of the dancer-jester who straddles the stick during his performance. It has various objects associated with the knowledge dispensed by the Koré, the last initiatory society of the Bamana.
The handle has a flat, slightly curved seat and is extended by a sculpted head.
Black oiled, velvety patina, minor abrasions and erosions, cracks.
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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 ...
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This statue depicts a dancer, a member of the secret society Bwadi Bwa Kifwébé , in a state of transse bwadi, dressed in a braided suit and a natural fiber adornment attached to the contours of the female-style mask. The skirt is made of animal skin, on which remains a little fur. The appearance of this masked dancer is intended to increase fertility. The arms are mobile. This variants of this mask Kifwebe (pl. Bifwebe) or 'chasing death' (Roberts), from the society of the same name, stand out: the masculine (kilume) usually with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low crest or absent, and finally the greatest embodying power (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still used today, appears to come from the border area between the northern Luba and the Southeastern Songye. The ...
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Everyday objects in African art .
Dan tribal art also produces utilitarian and prestigious objects, including the famous carved wooden spoons, Wakemia, used during festive ceremonies, and granted by the villagers to a particularly generous and hospital. The woman will use it to serve the meal and will wave it happily during the "hospitable woman's dances". The spoon often has an anthropomorphic handle, in this case an extended female bust of bent, curved legs. The cuilleron is decorated with traditional body scarifications. Satin black patina. Missing around the edge.
For the Dan of Côte d'Ivoire, also called Yacouba, two very distinct universes oppose each other: that of the village, made up of its inhabitants, its animals, and that of the forest, its vegetation and the ...
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Dogon animal mask surmounted by a female figure sculpted in the round. Polychrome patina.
The Dogon are a people renowned for their cosmogony, their esotericism, their myths and legends. Their population is estimated at about 300,000 souls living southwest of the Niger loop in the Mopti region of Mali (Bandiagara, Koro, Banka), near Douentza and part of northern Burkina (northwest of Ouahigouya).
More than eighty types of African masks are listed among the Dogon, of which the best known are the Kanaga, Sirigé, Satimbé and Walu. Most of them are used by the circumcised initiates of the Awa society, during funeral ceremonies. The Awa refers to the masks, their costumes, and the set of Dogons serving the masks. Some evoke animals, in reference to the rich ...
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Everyday objects in African art.
Dan tribal art also produces utilitarian and prestigious objects, including the famous carved wooden spoons, Wakemia, used during festive ceremonies, and granted by the villagers to a particularly generous and hospital. The woman will use it to serve the meal and will wave it happily during the "hospitable woman's dances". As in many cases, this spoon has an anthropomorphic handle, here a female bust decorated with traditional body scarifications. Abraded black patina.
Minimal desication cracks. br />
For the Dan of Côte d'Ivoire, also called Yacouba, two very distinct universes oppose each other: that of the village, made up of its inhabitants, its animals, and that of the forest, its vegetation and the animals and spirits that live there. ...
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Three types of Kifwebe masks 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 ). In the 16th century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba. 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. The Songyes created impressive statues with powerful features often used during secret ceremonies, covered with accessories like feathers, skin and a horn full of magical charge. Very present in their society, divination made it possible to discover sorcerers and to shed light on the causes of the misfortunes that ...
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A narrow face with a protruding mouth and a rectangular ridge for the nose, a forehead and a headdress forming a helmet, this copper-plated mask is a specific feature of marka sculptures. Matte smooth patina.
In African art, the Marka , Maraka in Bamana, Warka b> , or Sarakolé, are Muslim city dwellers of Soninke origin, established in the south of Niger, scattered since the end of the Ghana empire in Mali, Mauritania and Senegal .
They now speak Bamana and have adopted much of the Bambara traditions, such as Ntomo and Koré , initiation societies that used masks during their ceremonies.
The African art sculptors Bambara and Marka are part of the Numuw , who are not linked to an ethnic group and are free to settle wherever they wish.
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Fertility statuette of very schematic design, the appearance of the head of which varies according to the region. It evokes a spirit with which a relationship is established. The tubular bust, slightly bulging at the level of the abdomen, has a flat chest. The angular, stylized head evokes the female crest hairstyle, the parallel incisions, the scarifications and the braids of the ethnic group. Beautiful heterogeneous brown patina, lustrous, locally abraded. Minimal cracking.
The use of dolls by young African women is not exclusively within the initiatory context. When menstruation begins, the girl is considered a potential mother. In many ethnic groups, the search for fertility is then done by means of initiation rites. Wooden figures will then be carved, some reflecting both ...
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The dolls of the Namji or Dowayo , people of mountain animists living in the north of Cameroon, have recently been known. These effigies represent the human body in stylized elementary forms.
The umbilicus of the tubular bust is here encrusted with a cowrie in the center of a cup underlined with a red cotton cord. As an extension of a stretched neck, the inclined face, flat and circular, bears scarifications, like the bust. Small arms are made of beads and cowries.
Cracked grainy patina.
These African tribal dolls are carved in wood by the blacksmith, initially for the play of little girls. But these dolls are mainly used by sterile women in complex fertility rituals, the doll becoming a surrogate child that they will treat as such. In some cases the groom offered it to ...
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