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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.

Yoruba altar figure
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Yoruba

The female figure depicted sitting on a throne whose feet are parallel to the legs of the character, forms an incarnation of one of the many orisa of the Yoruba, equivalent to the Christian Saints. The miniature figures that surround him would be minor followers or deities. Crusty patina, mate. Lack on one of the braids of the hairstyle.
The Yoruba society is very organized and has several associations whose roles vary. While the egbe society is strengthening social norms, the aro unites farmers. The gelede has more esoteric and religious aims. The notables come together in a society called susu. The kingdoms of Oyo and Ijebu were born following the disappearance of the civilization Ifé and are still the basis of the political structure of the Yoruba. The Oyos created two cults ...


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210.00

Epa Ekiti Yoruba Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Yoruba Mask

The Ekiti of the northeastern part of the Yoruba region use polychrome heaumes masks associated with the Epa cult, illustrating the prosperity of the community.
They appear at funerals or rites of passage.
The base of the janiform mask, named ikoko, is surmounted by a tray, and then a second with serrated edges, on which various figures are erected. The release of these masks, which will have been painted by their owners, takes place every two years. Despite the weight of the masks, the dancers perform spectacular acrobatic demonstrations. These ceremonies are also supposed to increase fertility.
Polychrome crusty patina, abrasions. The Yoruba, more than 20 million, occupy southwestern Nigeria and the central and southeastern region of Benin under the name Nago. ...


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

The tribal art of Africa proves once again that any usual 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 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, had a great influence on neighboring groups. This comb is surmounted by a protective effigy embodying a political and spiritual intermediary, a role held by the woman in Luba royalty. Her headdress, behind a wide band revealing a shaven forehead, evokes one of those worn by Luba women at the beginning of the 20th century. The secrets ...


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90.00

Luba comb
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 ...


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90.00

Luba / Zela Ngabo
African art > African Shield > Zela Shield

Once subject to the Luba and then the Lunda, the Zela have adopted many of their customs and traditions. Established between the Luvua River and Lake Kisale, they are now organized into four chiefdoms under the supervision of leaders of Luba origin. They venerate a primordial couple frequently represented in statuary, mythical ancestors, and make offerings to the spirits of nature. These shields could be hung in the huts. Matt patina with colored highlights.
( Luba , Roberts, 5 Continents ; "Trésors d'Afrique" ed. du Musée de Tervuren; "100 people of Zaire" M.L.Félix ). In the southeastern region of Katanga, around the 1960s, the Zela , long subject to the Luba whose customs and rites they borrowed, carved animal masks, following the example of the Lubas and Kundas. In ...


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240.00

Tabwa Mpundu fetish doll
African art > African Dolls > Tabwa doll

Ex-collection African art from Belgium.
The African tribal art of the Tabwa, prestige objects.

Used by the female initiation society, this limbless human figure has feminine attributes and a protruding navel, scarifications comparable to the traditional ones of tribal members. Golden brown patina.
The Tabwa ("to scarify" and "to write") constitute an ethnic group present in the southeast of the DRC. Simple farmers without centralized power, they federated around tribal chiefs after being influenced by the Luba. It is mainly during this period that their artistic current was expressed through statues but also masks. The Tabwa practiced ancestor worship and dedicated some of their statues named mkisi . Animists, their beliefs are anchored around the ngulu, ...


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240.00

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

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Tribal Nkisi, nkishi (pl. mankishi )quartet with a magical bishimba charge presumably inserted at the top of the head. A tuft of feathers was also inserted. The sculptures of the Kongo groups frequently symbolized proverbs. Smooth patina with golden mahogany shading. Desiccation cracks.
These protective fetishes for homes are among the most prized in Africa. The Nkisi plays the role of mediator between god and men, in charge of protecting against various evils. The large examples are the collective property of a whole village, and the smaller figures belong to an individual or a family.


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240.00

Buglé Dan Mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Dan Mask

African art and diversity of masks Dan
African anthropo-zoomorphic mask whose appearance evokes the elephant, his sculpture consists of a tiered frontal space whose platform is equipped with a metal hook. Deep losangic incisions form an upper frieze. An ridge vertically separates the lower area, a common attribute to the dangled masks in connection with the ethnic keloid. The originality of the mask consists of two semi-discs in relief composing the cheeks on either side of a tubular mouth. This shape ends in a circular, gaping mouth, lined with teeth blanched with kaolin. Elements join the room, such as a leather band nailed around the "trompe", and a grey cotton fabric adornment attached to the contours. The surface of this Dan Bugle mask, or Kagle, is grainy, kaolin residues are ...


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270.00

Figure masculine Bembe
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Bembe

Ex-collection of Belgian African art.
This figure with angular contours offers a vertical profile. It would be associated with funerary rites. Cracks and erosions, red ochre highlights.
The Bembe ethnic group is a branch of the Luba that left the Congo in the 18th century to settle near Tanzania and Burundi. Their society and artistic tendencies are marked by the influence of neighboring ethnic groups in the Lake Tanganyika region: the Lega, the Buyu, etc.. Indeed, like the Lega, the Bembe had a Bwami association responsible for initiation and structuring the society but while the Bwami was exclusive to the Lega, other associations coexisted among the Bembe, such as the Elanda and Alunga societies. Within the Bwami, art objects such as masks and statues had the role of ...


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200.00

Lozi neckrest
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African art > Head rest > Lozi neckrest

Ex-collection traditional African art from Luxembourg.
Rare Lozi neck-rest from Zambia.
It is Alfred Bertrand who published in 1898 this work "In the country of Ba-Rotsi" at the return of his southern exploration which led him to the sources of the Zambezi. He observed a very particular patina, an indelible trace of use on these Lozi neck rests. This famous Swiss explorer criss-crossed southern Africa from 1895 to 1909, collecting a number of traditional objects or those copied from European examples. Alfred Bertrand quickly became a recognized collector and participated in the Swiss National Exhibition in 1896. He then created his own museum exhibiting the four to five hundred pieces he had collected.


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Makonde Ndimu Belly Mask
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Makonde mask

The Makonde , a matrilineal Bantu population of northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania, wore mask-casks called lipiko , mapiko , during initiation ceremonies for young men. The Makonde worship an ancestor , which explains the abundance of relatively naturalistic female statuary. In addition to facial masks, midimu , the Makonde also produce body masks featuring the female bust, exalting fertility, which were worn by men.
A fine example coated with a satin red patina, locally encrusted with light dark granular particles.
Makonde carvings refer to an ancestor in connection with creation, the first Makonde man having carved a female image who became the mother of his children, revered ever since.


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Kasongo / Kusu Kakudji Fetish
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Kasongo Fetish

The personal protection figures kakudjis , used by the Hemba, Kusu and Kasongo, were inspired by Songye fetishes. The magical charge, composed of ingredients of various origins, was inserted into the head cavity. This example retains clay residue in this orifice. The piece is massive, carved in a very dense wood, the arms of the character are extended by a ring that drapes his abdomen, surmounting a cylindrical base. Satin patina. The Kusu established on the left bank of the Lualaba have borrowed the artistic traditions of the Luba and the Hemba and possess a caste system similar to that of the Luba . The Kasongos form a Kusu subgroup, now scattered among the Luba, Songye, and Hemba. The statues singiti were kept by the fumu mwalo and honored in ceremonies during which ...


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390.00

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

The tribal masks of the Songye .
African mask of the Songye ethnic group, in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Featuring a high sagittal crest, this mask, here of reduced size, is considered masculine, in contrast to the feminine one highlighted by a ridge. The prominent features give it a powerful character. Matt patina, abrasions.
Three variants of this Kifwebe( pl. Bifwebe) or "chasing death"(Roberts)mask can be distinguished: the masculine (kilume) generally with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low crest or even absent, and finally the largest embodying power (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still used today, is worn with a long costume and a long beard made of natural fibers, absent on this example, during major ...


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340.00

Buyu Bembe ancestor statue
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Bassikassingo statue

The influence of migratory movements in African art
Migration flows have intermingled within the same territories of the Bembe , Lega, Buyu (Buye) or Boyo , Binji and Bangubangu. The Bassikassingo , considered by some to be a sub-clan Buyu , are not of bembe origin although they live on their territory, the work of Biebuyck has allowed to trace their history. Organized in line-ups, they borrowed the association of the Bwami Lega. The bembé and boyo traditions are relatively similar They venerate the spirits of nature, water specifically among the Boyo, but also heroic ancestors, whose will is sought to be known through divinatory rites. Hunting is also an opportunity to make sacrifices of gratitude to the entities whose favour sities have been called for and protected. Their masks ...


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

Bleached kaolin face, protruding almond eyelids in concave eye sockets, narrow mouth placed in the end of the chin, make up the traditional canons of this African lega mask. This tribal mask indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society composed of different ranks, and which was joined by the wives whose spouse had reached the third level, that of the ngandu. Satin brown patina, clear kaolin residue.
High on a base: 44 cm. Within the Lea, 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 in the 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also known as Warega, these ...


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Figure of Snake Baga
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Baga Snake

French African art collection. This object, whose base forms a circle from which the head of the snake emerges, was probably used in a similar context in which the snake masks of the various Baga groups appeared. This symbolic evocation of a mythical snake-genius, carried in procession during certain rites, or placed on an altar, was intended to protect the village. Cracks and abrasions from use. African initiatory serpentine mask used mainly by the Bulongic (village of Kifinda), subgroup Baga of the Guinean coast, its size can go up to 2.50 m. Its conception took shape in an esoteric context,at night within the forest. Privileges of initiated men, ...


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Dogon enthronement figure
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Dogon statue

French African art collection.
In African tribal art, this type of sculpture frequently illustrates the transmission of power. Among the Dogon, however, its significance remains unknown, but could evoke an anecdote related to creation myths.
Black greasy patina. Carved for the most part on commission by a family, the Dogon statues may also be the object of worship by the entire community. Their functions, however, remain little known. Alongside Islam, Dogon religious rites are organized around four main cults: the Lebe, relating to fertility, under the spiritual authority of the Hogon; the Wagem, ancestor worship under the authority of the patriarch; the Binou invoking the spirit world and led by the Binou priest; and the mask society concerning funerals.


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280.00

Kuba Flycatcher
African art > Fly swatter, staff of power, royal sceptre > Kuba Flycatcher

The Shoowa settled within the Kuba kingdom and gradually adopted some of its traditions. Organized in a matrilineal society, the Shoowa are above all skilled weavers, renowned for their raffia textiles which they export to neighboring groups. But they are also potters and engravers. The Kuba and the tribes between the Sankuru and Kasai rivers, including the Bushoong and Dengese, also from the Mongo group, are known for the refinement of prestige objects created for the higher ranks of their society. The Kuba kingdom was founded in the 16th century by the Bushoong, who are still ruled by a king. It is the most prolific group in Western Kasai. Ritual ceremonies were still an opportunity to display decorative arts and masks to honor the spirit of the deceased or to honor the king. Most of ...


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180.00

Lobi sculpture in bronze
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Lobi bronze

Couple figured back to back, symbolizing complementarity. Khaki brown patina, golden highlights. Populations from the same cultural region, grouped under the name "lobi," make up one-fifth of the inhabitants of Burkina Faso. Not very numerous in Ghana, they also settled in the north of Côte d'Ivoire. It was at the end of the eighteenth century that the Lobi , coming from northern Ghana, settled among the indigenous Thuna and Puguli, the Dagara, Dian, Gan, and Birifor.


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Kongo Yombe Mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Kongo Mask

This African mask was the prerogative of the nganga, priest-devin. Its mediumnic capacities, which the Kongo thought to favour thanks to the taking of hallucinogenic substances, are revealed by the look at the hollowed pupils. This type of mask was called ngobudi in reference to something frightening, terrorizing. These mediating masks, also present in initiatory processes, were used by fetishists 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. Two centuries later, the Portuguese came into contact with the Kongo and ...


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260.00

Small Kongo Yombe mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Kongo Mask

A panage of the nganga, the konko priest of Kongo, this African mask of small size and realistic type takes up kongo characters such as the look at the pierced pupil. The psychic abilities, which the Kongo thought they fostered through the taking of hallucinogenic substances, are revealed by the wide-eyed gaze. These types of masks were called ngobudi in reference to a terrible, terrifying thing. 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.
Orange brown patina, abrasions. Tiny residues of red pigments on the eyes and mouth. Excellent condition.
In the 13th century, the Kongo ...


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260.00





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