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.
African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Allo Tablet
African tribal art and the Koran
"allo" comes from the Arabic "lawh" for Hidden Tablets, God would have thus described the destiny of each man even before the creation of the world.
The Quranic plate called "Hello" is primarily intended for learning to write.
Some of them are very simple, undecorated, only decorated with passages from the Qur'an that are traced and then erased, then written again before being washed again, erased, and so on until the student has acquired the knowledge that is taught to him or her. This plate represents the student tradition, the transmission of knowledge to the student.
There are several functions attributed to the Allo boards by the Hausa, mainly in Nigeria. They become protective against the forces of ...
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > League Figures
Symbol of animal qualities, this statuette, forming the generic figure of a quadruped (mugugundu) from the Lega environment, belonged to a high-ranking Bwami. Kaolin patina. Eclats.br /-Following their exodus from Uganda during the 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also known as Warega, these individuals live in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades, usually on the top of hills. The role of the chief, kindi , is held by the oldest man of the clan, who must be the highest ranked. As in other forest tribes, men hunt and clear while women grow cassava. The Bwami, a secret society admitting men and their wives, governed social life. This organization was subdivided into initiation stages, the highest being the Kindi . Bwami has varying ...
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lega Figurines
Animal figure with a human face, used during the itinerant rites of the Bwami Lega. Light brown satin patina, residual kaolin incrustations. Copy similar to page 115 of "Art of the Lega" by E.L.Cameron.
The African art of Lega , Balega , or Warega , is distinguished by its initiation statuettes, also made of ivory, some of which were kept in a basket intended for the highest ranks of the Bwami of different communities. This type of tribal art statuette, Iginga ( Maginga plural), was the property of the high-ranking officers of the Bwami, a secret society admitting men and their wives and governing social life. This organization was subdivided into initiatory stages, the highest being Kindi.
Following their exodus from Uganda during the 17th century, the Lega settled on the ...
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Boa Mask
Supposed to make invulnerable and in order to terrify the enemy, the African art mask kpongadomba bodes was commanded by the leader kumu who offered it to the most valiant warrior. He was then kept in his wife's box. With oversized ears, perforated as were once the eastern Boa ear pavilions, the " bavobongo ", and a mouth lined with teeth, it gave an impressive appearance to its wearer, accentuated by the contrast of colors. Close to the Mangbetu and Zande, the Boa live on the savannah in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some Boa are said to have used these masks for educational purposes with children since the pacification of the Uele region.
African art > Jars, amphoras, pots, matakam > Can Kuduo
The Ashanti, Asante , mastered the art of lost wax cast iron, copper metal being sacred and considered inferior to gold, in order to produce ritual and prestige objects, such as the Kuduo brass which were intended, in addition to the storage of gold powder, for domestic and royal cults. Sacrifices and offerings were sometimes attributed to them. The stage on the lid of this kuduo evokes life at the court, musicians surround the king sheltered under the royal parasol kyiné, the latter being associated with the protective tree gyedua . The chief was accompanied by this umbrella in all his travels. The decorative motifs around the perimeter, however, are derived from Islamic traditions. Golden patina with grey-green inlays.
Ashanti are one of Ghana's ethnic groups (formerly Côte ...
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Metoko
The Metoko in African tribal art.
This small statuette with collected volumes is camped on large digitized feet, the hips surrounded by a raffia bond evoking a loincloth. A nasal ridge joining the top of the forehead, eye lozenges, a small mouth drawn in the wood. Numerous scarifications, written in alternating parallel lines, reveal the character's status, which would play a worthy old man who has been a victim of witchcraft, kakungu. In the hollow of these furrows kaolin pigments have become embedded, giving a light beige patina to the object.
Katungu cult statue belonging to the Metoko and Lengola, peoples of the primary forest dedicated to the worship of a single God, rare monotheism in Africa. Their company, Bukota, welcoming both men and women, is the equivalent of the ...
African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Luba comb
Ex Portuguese African art collection.
The effigies are depicted facing each other, the head at the end of a long ringed neck, resting on the shoulder of the one opposite. They are embracing each other in a curious position, the right leg of one raised to the height of the other's thigh. Both figures have a headdress pulled back behind a squared band, a reference to the elaborate quadrifoliate headdresses of dignitaries. Dark oiled patina, satin sheen, slight lack of one of the teeth of the comb.
African tribal art proves once again that any common object can become an artistic support. The decorative aspect of an object is never its intrinsic function. In African art, any everyday object can be transformed into a masterpiece while keeping its usefulness. The major role played by women ...
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Luba
This feminine figure of African art, with a slender and serene look, has a thin and symmetrical face, it is a Luba statue. The eyes in coffee beans its half closed. The finely chiseled headdress is pulled back and classically divided into four parts.
The flexed arms cause the hands to rest on the prominent abdomen.
The Luba ( Baluba in Tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa. Their cradle is the Katanga, specifically the region of the Lubu River, so the name (Baluba, which means the Lubas). They were born from a secession of the Songhoy ethnic group, under the leadership of Ilunga Kalala who killed the old king Kongolo, who has since been revered as a python. In the 16th century they created a state, organized in a decentralized chiefdom, which ...
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Luluwa Maternity
Relief motifs, erogenous and symbolic scarifications, embellish this African maternity. This female figure embracing a child has a greyish brown patina. These statuettes were supposed to protect the child and its mother. There are cracks and slight missing parts.
The different types of Luluwa, Lulua, or Béna Lulua statues, with multiple scarifications, glorify local chiefs, maternity, fertility and the female figure. This sculptural art was subject to the influences of neighboring ethnic groups (Chokwe, Luba, Kuba, etc.).
The Lulua, or Bena Lulua, settled in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo from West Africa. Their social structure, based on castes, is similar to that of the Luba. They produced few masks, but mainly statues of ancestors representing the ideal warrior, ...
African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Crucifix Kongo
Among the Kongo at the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries, the crucifix was a symbol of authority among the regalia chieffaux. A ceremony at the chief's inauguration required the future leader to recove at the hands of a dignitary, during a codified ritual, a nkangi kiditu. This badge of power, inspired by ancient Christian crucifixes imported by the Portuguese in the 16th century, could also have a therapeutic function, and, in addition to various uses, be brandished during funeral ceremonies during which the object was subjected to libations of oil or palm wine. The cross would not be a specific motif to the Christian world, the Kongo considering that the four branches refer to the cycle of human existence. The Kongo also used an initiation ceremony, the kimpasi , in which the ...
African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Crucifix Kongo
Collection traditional African art French.
Among Kongo chiefs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the crucifix stood among chieftain regalia as a symbol of power the authority. A ceremony at the investiture of the chief required the future ruler to receive from the hands of a dignitary, in a codified ritual, a nkangi kiditu . This insignia of power, inspired by ancient Christian crucifixes imported by the Portuguese in the 16th century, could also have had a therapeutic function, and, in addition to various uses, was brandished at funeral ceremonies during which the object was subjected to libations of oil or palm wine. Height on base: 29 cm.
The cross would not be a motif specific to the ...
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Songye Mask
Specific to the kalebwe region, in the center of Songye country, this African kifwebe mask bears astonishing protruding, curved pupils on either side of a broad sagittal ridge. The striated patterns on the surface are coated with burgundy, black, and cream pigments. Matt patina, erosion of the contours and cracks of desiccation.
Three types of African Kifwebe masks are listed: the male (kilume) generally with a high crest, the female (kikashi) would have a more modest crest or even absent, 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 manner. Their history is inseparable from that of the Luba to whom they are related ...
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Yela Mask
This flat and circular African mask was kept in a basket of the lodge belonging to the secret society ekanga . Use patina with residues from a plant brush. Small restoration using wicker. Cracks. Height on a base: 46 cm.
The province of Lualaba had several close ethnic groups with similar associations. The Mbole and Yela are known for their statues, according to D. Biebuck, of the hanged, 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 secrecy surrounding the lilwa . Disgraced, the bodies of condemned men had no funerals and were buried in the forest. It was during the end-of-initiation ceremonies, ...
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Ejagham Crest Mask
Ex English African art collection.
This African mask was estimated to be auctioned at 750 euros.
From a conical base in braided basketry rises a wooden head sheathed with animal skin, antelope generally, ideal for feminine beauty in the Ejagham. This extravagant hairstyle consisting of four growths in volutes, also lined with leather, would represent the hair extensions of the girls at the end of their period of initiation. The hollowed-out mouth has teeth. The whole thing was oil-slaped, velbling the brown patina. Stretched eyelids open onto bleached globes. The dancer's costume consisted of a large lattice of raffia ropes, and more recently, cotton fabric. The masks were coated with palm oil before use, and placed in daylight so that the leather would soften and adopt a ...
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Ekoi Mask
Volute cimiers in the African art of Ejagham/Ekoi
A conical base in basketry rises a wooden head stretched out of animal skin. Its headdress, usually composed of horns in volutes, is here topped with ventrus perosnnages. The dancer's costume consisted of a large lattice of raffia ropes, and more recently, cotton cloth. The masks were coated with palm oil before use, and placed in daylight so that their leather softened and adopted a satisfying luster. Leopard societies, such as the male society Kpe, Ngbe among the Aro, used this model of cimiers for initiation ceremonies or funerals of members of the association, but also during agricultural rituals. The hairstyle would represent that of the young women named Moninkim in the end of their traditional imprisonments during which ...
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statuette Luluwa
The different types of statues Luluwa, Lulua, or Bena Lulua, with multiple scarifications, glorify local leaders, motherhood, fertility and the female figure. Figures such as the one presented belong to the cult Buanga bua cibola, and are supposed to protect children and pregnant women. By the position of the hands indeed, this character highlights a prominent abdomen, center of the body and object of all solicitudes. ( The Power of the Sacred, M. Faïk-Nzuji) Scarifications protruding ornetn its forehead. Browned patina rather dull.
The Lulua, or Béna Lulua from West Africa, settled in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their caste-based social structure is similar to that of the Luba. They produced few masks, but especially statues of ancestors representing the ideal ...
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Ngbandi
Ex-collection of Belgian African art.
Among the many sculpted objects relating to hasse and magic, this stylized protective female statuette could represent the spirit Ngbirondo acting as guardian of the village. Funeral statues were also used, and couple sculptures yangba and sister, equivalent to the Seto and Nabo ancestors of Ngbaka. The pointed chin and the scarfication on the ridge of the nose is characteristic of the ethnicity. Thick, dark patina, lumpy and cracked.
The Ngbaka form a homogeneous people from the north-west of the R.D.C., south of Ubangui. The Ngbandi live to the east (on the left bank of the Oubangui) and the Ngombe to the south. The initiation of young people, 'gaza' or 'ganza' (which gives strength) in the Ngbaka and Ngbandi, has many similarities, ...
African art > Spoons, ladles > Tabwa Spoon
Ex-German African art collection.
The Tabwa ('scarifier' and 'write') are 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 ancestors mipasi through sculptures held by chiefs or sorcerers.
Simples farmers without centralized power, the Tabwa united around tribal leaders after being influenced by the Luba. It was mainly during this period that their artistic current was expressed mainly through statues but also through masks. The Tabwa worshipped ancestors and dedicated some of their statues to them. Animists, their beliefs are rooted around ngulu, spirits of nature present in plants and rocks. Source: Treasures of Africa Ed. Tervuren Museum.
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Guéré Mask
The African mask Guéré is reputed to be a complex piece both in terms of shapes and, often, also materials. Here it consists of a combination of globular, tubular, crunchy growths, around which wood, leather and textile fibers are clumped in a crustal coating.
Prior to the 1960s, masks, whose development was inspired by the visits of spirits during dreams, accompanied most activities such as war, dancing, singing, hunting. Each of these masks had a name associated with its function. It remained the property of the lineage of the dancer.
If the mask has a social function, such as when it is required by the chief to order certain work, it may also be used to entertain the villagers.
African art > Head rest > Rungu headrest
Three legs support the rectangular top of this African headrest decorated with two similar busts. The glossy wood tray is of a mahogany tone while the statuettes adopt a dark patina.
Very slight erosion.
Tribe of the Tabwa group, the Rungu are established in a region between the D.R.C. (Democratic Republic of Congo), Zambia and Tanzania. Under the influence of the neighboring Lubas and Bemba, the Rungu produced prestigious objects for dignitaries, stools, combs, spoons and scepters, frequently decorated with figures of couples or twins. Their king, called mwéné tafuna , lives in Zambia. A women's association, Kamanya , has dolls like those of the Tabwas.
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Luba headrest
The Luba are famous in particular for their neck rests and stools made of a caryatid figure. The neck rests protecting the headdresses during the night were also used to support the heads of the deceased, and sometimes, according to Albert Maesen, buried in their place.
A female figure crouching with legs widely apart (Zula style), supporting the curved support, forms the "receptacle of a deceased sovereign chief" (Luba, Roberts). The effigy embodies the spirit of an ancestor, vidiye and is topped with braids pulled backwards.
Locally abraded oiled patina, orange reflections, residual ochre incrustations.
The Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa. Their cradle is Katanga, more precisely the region of the Lubu river, hence the name (Baluba, which means ...