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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.

Masque Bembe Elanda
African art > African mask > Masque Bembe

This African mask was used during the tribal ritual of the male society Kalunga, Alunga, exercising social control over the clan, and responsible for public dances and pre-hunting ceremonies. A mask embodying the god Alunga, it has four large concave orbits with a conical pupil in relief. Between the orbits a circular opening is the mouth. Evocation of a spirit of the forest, this mask was preserved in sacred caves and it was during the festivals associated with hunting and the cults of ancestors that it was exhibited. Masks of the same type also appeared during the circumcision ceremonies of the Bwami . Patina polychrome mate.
The Bembe is a Luba branch line that is believed to have left Congo in the 18th century. Their society and artistic tendency are influenced by their ...


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350.00

African Colon Kongo
African art > African Statues > Colon

Wearing a colonial helmet, dressed in a suit with a clearly indicated fold of trousers, and wearing thick ankle boots, this character of 'colon' is represented in an assured attitude. An impression of vigour is rendered thanks to the narrowness of the waist contrasting with the extended shoulder span of the extended arms. The patina is matte, sandy, with residual kaolin inlays. Long desication crack in the back.
In the 13th century, the Kongo people, led by their king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads of the borders between present-day 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 had a democratic aspect because the king was actually ...


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350.00

Ngulu Chokwe Animal Mask
African art > African mask > Chokwe Mask

The Tschokwe, in African art, have a male association, mukanda, which makes use of some thirty African masks, made of wood, for various social purposes and related to the fores: the mask cikugu, the cihongo, pwo mask, kalelwa, cikunza, but also this type of animal mask of which there are variants, ngulu, bush pig or orycterope, which was worn on a basketry base. He was also added to coloured cotton fabrics and various small objects. This mask was danced by professionals moving from village to village, who mimicped inappropriate behavior, contrasting with the civilized attitude of Mwana pwo .
Ned brown and ochre matte and abraded. Lacks on the contours.
The Bantu-cultured Tschokwe had settled in eastern Angola, but also in Congo and Zambia. Following various alliances, they ...


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490.00

Zoomorphic mask Wé, Guéré
African art > African mask > Wé Mask

A mask of "frightene" embodying an ancestor, this object is endowed, for the Wé of southwestern Côte d'Ivoire, with a power enhanced by the accessories that accompany it. In this case, a beard composed of raffia, bells, fangs and horns, attached to a bulge of fabric highlighted by tubular pearl necklaces cast with a ritual ointment. The wide gaping jaw is hemmed in with a hardened cloth that holds a cord, giving the appearance of thick lips. The helmeted forehead, whose furrows with red pigments are covered with brass nails, is adorned with two zoomorphic circular ears. White kaolin residue, matte surface.
The Dan, to the north, and the southern Wé (including the Guéré, the Wobé of the northeast and the Wé of Liberia called Kran or Khran), made frequent borrowings due to their ...


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340.00

Yoruba Polychrome Maternity
objet vendu
African art > African Maternity > Yoruba Polychrome Maternity

This female tribal altar art sculpture features a well-preserved polychromy. She is depicted sitting in a seat on a circular base. Facilitating communication with the sacred, it reminds the deity of its duties to men. Through the child she holds on her lap, she symbolizes the protection of her people and fertility. Wearing a high crest, she also wears the three deep keloids of the Yoruba nobles on each of the cheeks. The globular eyes, fleshy lips, are also distinctive markers of Yoruba tribal statuary. Her attire, necklace and bracelets, reflect her social rank.
Sensitable, a matte, grainy patina covers the wood, which is desiccized due to cracking.
The Yoruba engaged in the slave trade with the Europeans and in particular the Portuguese before being completely subsermissed ...

Kongo Nkisi figure
objet vendu
African art > African Statues > Kongo figure

African art Kongo.
The bilongo elements conferring additional powers to this pair of nkisi statuettes are hidden in a reliquary that closes a cauri on the abdomen and in the back of their seat, sealed by a mirror. Additions of metal, in the form of fine tips, participate in this action defensive or offensive. The caps consist of animal skin on which remains a coat and a red cotton headband. The teeth are traditionally filed down and the trance glance, able to discern the hidden things, is expressed by pupils visible through splinters of glass. Satin patina encrusted with matte particles. The magical "bilongo" ingredients were frequently hidden in the receptacle on the abdomen of the figure which was otherwise sealed by a mirror. The Nganga wizards, both healers, were in charge of ...


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Agni Comian figure
African art > African Statues > Agni figure

Agni sculpture in African art
Work of a sculptor of the Agni ethnic group, a subgroup of the rich and famous Akan people present in Côte d'Ivoire and southern Ghana, this polychrome African statue, used by the fetishist, has body and facial scarifications. The eyebrow arches meet on the ridge of the nose. Supported by a ringed neck representing her necklaces, the imposing head is topped with braided shells. This statue provided communication with the spirits of ancestors and geniuses established in the supernatural world and belonged to the female Comians members of secret societies, endowed with occult gifts. Restoration on the base. The Portuguese came into contact with the Akan at the end of the 15th century and quickly settled in the coastal region to develop the trade in gold ...


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280.00

Oracle de divination Luba/Songye Katatora
objet vendu
African art > African fetish > Oracle Katatora

Divinatory tool to communicate with ancestors. Incorporating the category of objects nkisi , nkishi , this sculpture was attributed to a secret power because it formed the receptacle of a spiritual energy. The Luba, like their neighbors Songye, 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. During the interview, the ring was caught by the soothsayer and his client, who dragging it onto a mat or headrest in response to the questions asked (producing the sound of 'kashekesheke', 'extracting the truth'). The figurative motif here consists of a head with eyes encrusted with cured and capped with braids gathered backwards in hulls. Chocolate satin ...

Fetish statue Nkishi of Songye
African art > African fetish > Statue Songye

Angular volumes form this androgynous anthromorphic sculpture. Always intriguing by the diversity of their magical paraphernalia, the African fetishes mankishi (plu.) of Songye, specialists in the field. The summit horn, usually loaded with bishimba in which magic ingredients mingle, springs here in the center of the headdress. The various magical accessories, added by the ritualist named nganga , are made up of necklaces, inlays of upholstery nails, and ropes as loincloths. Each of them played a role in protecting themselves from witchcraft. Patine mate. Cracks.

The Songye came from the Shaba region of the DRC and settled along the Lualaba River in the middle of the savannah and forests. Their society is organized in a patriarchal way. Their history is inseparable from that ...


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480.00

Kasangala League Statues
African art > African Statues > League figurines

In the lega statuary, anthropomorphic sculptures with arms raised above the head would evoke, according to Cameron, the one who settled a dispute through his arbitration. These figures are named kasangala . The piece features a honey patina with kaolin inlays.
This type of tribal art statuette was kept in the basket of high-ranking officers of the Bwami, a secret society that admits men and their wives, and governs social life. This organization was subdivided into initiation stages, the highest being the Kindi. The statuettes were used as the aspirants were introduced, cleaned and oiled. Each has a particular aspect and meaning from which a moral or dogma always derives. The peculiarity of the Lega, unlike other ethnic groups, is also to judge the quality of their ritual objects ...


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280.00

Kuyu totemic figure in terracotta
African art > African Terracotta > Terracotta Kouyou

Legs joined, arms along the body devoid of feet, this figure represented seated was made of terracotta. It is decorated with many polychrome decorative motifs.
Two totemic clans once formed the Kuyu ethnic group, living along the river of the same name, in the northwest of the People's Republic of Congo: in the west that of the panther, and in the east that of the snake. A secret male association, Ottoté , played an important political role in the appointment of leaders. The initiation of the young men ended with the revelation of the serpent god Ebongo represented in the form of a head. The dances Kibe-kibe that accompanied the ceremony reactivated the successive stages of creation. The Panther clan had a drum as an emblem. For its part, the snake's had carved heads, painted in ...


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140.00

Masque Kumu, Komo, Nsembu
objet vendu
African art > African mask > Masque Kumu

African mask named Nsembu , which performed in male-female pairs, it was used by the sorcerer's society Nkunda within the clans living in the north of the Uituri region. The surface is coated with a polychrome dotillage, an allusion to the animal world, and the color pigments that adorn the bodies during the initiation rites. Patine mate. Height on suitable base: 44 cm.

The Kumu , Bakumu, Komo, live mainly in the North-East and central Democratic Republic of Congo. Their Bantu language is komo or kikomo. Several ethnic groups are closely intertwined, with similar associations: the Mbole, the Yela, the Lengola, and the Metoko. Their artistic production also has great similarities with that of the Metoko and Lengola. Their divination masks were displayed during the closing ...


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Kasai Shoowa Velvet
objet vendu
African art > African Textile > Textile Cuba

Belgian African tribal art collection.
African art and the refinement of Kuba weaving.
Products to Zaire by the Shoowa, Bashoowa, a subgroup Kuba , these fabrics forming real paintings of first art, consist of a textile base in raffia on which threads are cut to the brim, forming a velvet effect accentuated by the contrasts of tone. The geometric patterns formed represent the body scarifications of the ethnic group or the decorations of the sculptures. These refined fabrics were intended to be used at the royal court, as a seat or cover, to enhance its prestige. In many cases they took 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 introduced the velvet weaving technique to Kuba ...


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Kasai Shoowa Velvet
objet vendu
African art > African Textile > Textile Cuba

Belgian African tribal art collection.
African art and the refinement of Kuba weaving.
Products to Zaire by the Shoowa, Bashoowa, a subgroup Kuba , these fabrics forming real paintings of first art, consist of a textile base in raffia on which threads are cut to the brim, forming a velvet effect accentuated by the contrasts of tone. The geometric patterns formed represent the body scarifications of the ethnic group or the decorations of the sculptures. These refined fabrics were intended to be used at the royal court, as a seat or cover, to enhance its prestige. In many cases they took 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 introduced the velvet weaving technique to Kuba ...


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Lobi Bateba Statues
objet vendu
African art > African Statues > Lobi Bateba Statues

Knee, hands arranged on either side of his prominent abdomen, this Lobi statue has a face with a meditative and serene face. Eyelids closed in a head with naturalistic features. This ancient wooden effigy, the Bateba, was placed on the altar after a ritual to become the receptacle of a bush spirit, the Thil, and thus become an active, intermediate being that fights against sorcerers and other evil forces. When they are honoured, these spirits show their benevolence in the form of heavy rains, good health, numerous births; Ignored, they remove it and lead to devastating epidemics, drought and suffering.
These spirits pass on to the soothsayers the laws that followers must follow in order to receive their protection.
They are represented by wooden or copper sculptures called ...


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Bembe Kalunga fetish tabouret
African art > African Chair > Tabouret Bembe

Preserved in the box of the karunga society, or Alunga, this fetish in the form of a seat is made up of kalunga faces. The society not only exercised social control within the Bembe clan, but also organized public dances and pre-hunting ceremonies. The large eye sockets of the faces are reminiscent of circumcision masks that symbolize a forest spirit. Patina lustrous by use. Desication cracks, erosions.
The Bembe is a Luba branch line that is believed to have left Congo in the 18th century. Their society and artistic tendency are influenced by their neighbours in the Lake Tanganyika region, the Lega, the Buyu, etc. Indeed, like the Lega, the Bembe had an association bwami responsible for initiation and structuring for society but while the bwami was exclusive to the Lega, other ...


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290.00

Mbole Mask
African art > African mask > Mbole Mask

With a very slightly convex structure, low relief, this tribal mask coated with a matte polychromy is embellished with raised ribs whose shape repeats in parallel grooves. The latter are still encrusted with kaolin highlights. These African masks are staged at the funerals of Lilwa dignitaries or are used by the blacksmith during circumcision rituals. Height on a base: 42 cm.

The province of Lualaba had several close ethnic groups with similar associations. The Mboles and Yela are known for their statues, according to D. Biebuck, of hanged men, named ofika . The lilwa , an association with dogmatic initiation rites, had the custom of judging and sentencing those guilty of violations of the imposed rules to hang. These offences ranged from murder to adultery to breaking the ...


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170.00

Kalabari Ijio ancestor screen
African art > Door shutter > Kalabari screen

With Ijos living mainly from fishing and agriculture on Nigeria's southern coast, and their small villages in swampy areas west of the Nun River, their cosmogony naturally centred around this environment. References to their warand and commercial past abound in reliquaries, rituals and masked celebrations. The tops associated with Western trading partners have become leader badges. Thus this couple carved in high relief on this panel embodies ancestors. This sculpture reigned in the sanctuaries of men among other prestigious objects. The mirror above the figures was also a popular item during transactions. Polychromy off, erosions and cracks.
Their masks and other artistic productions are intended to honor aquatic spirits, otojo, which they venerate and to whom sacrifices were ...


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390.00

Zamblé Gouro Mask
objet vendu
African art > African mask > Guro Mask

Among the group of Mande from the south, in the centre of Côte d'Ivoire, on the banks of the Bandama, the Gouro are organized in bloodcuts, and constitute the western neighbors of the Baoulé who have borrowed several characteristics of their art creations African tribal system. Animists, they have been using a family of masks associated with the Zaouli dance since the 1950s . Like the African Goli masks of the Baoulé, all Guro masks, related to the geniuses of nature, come in two zoomorphic masks followed by a third anthropomorph, which is considered the wife of the mask zamblé , the Gu . These masks are the property of families who worship the ancestors of blood-lurking, who make ritual and sacrificial use of them in order to attract divine blessings. Priest and soothsayer share ...


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Baule Ndoma Helmet Mask
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African art > African mask > Baoule Mask

This voluminous African mask of the Baoulé, a traditional sculpture called portrait mask or Ndoma, features a hairstyle composed of braided hair topped by a feline. The face with fine features features features the traditional scarifications called " ngole". Dark brown surface mattified with a clay coating.
These portraits of the Baoulé, ndoma, which are part of one of the oldest baoulé artistic traditions and frequently represent an idealized character, have the peculiarity of manifesting themselves at the end of the entertainment dance ceremonies. The latter are named, depending on the regions, bedwo, ngblo, mblo, adjussu, etc. Each of these masks are distinguished by the hairstyles, the location and the choice of scarifications. They perform during danced events accompanied by ...


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Nigeria s early Idoma currency
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African art > African Currencies > Idoma Currency

This primitive African currency takes the form of a triangle extending into its lower part of a flat handle. Its surface is hammered with notches forming a regular relief. The tip base, could be recorded in the ground.
Oxid red ochre granular patina. In Africa, before the colonial period, payments were never made in coins. Transactions were made using cauris, pearls, cattle, kola nuts, but also metals, including iron in particular. These primitive currencies were used in trade, social exchanges, for dowries in particular, but could also constitute objects of parade or throw weapons. In Sierra Leone, goods were assessed against iron bars called barriferri. The king generally controlled the production or delivery of the kingdom's currency. The variety of these metallic forms is wide, ...





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