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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.

Fon Fetish Throne (Rare)
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African art > Trone > Fon Fetish Throne (Rare)

Throughout its history, African Fon art has been imbued with Yoruba and ewe creations according to migration and trade. However, this art cannot be reduced to these two influences. Indeed, the Fon themselves have brought their originality to their statuary.
In particular, voodoo or vodun, a religious cult whose name comes from a variant of the Yoruba word meaning "dieu", is found in them.

This fetish throne, ritual object, imbued with great strength, exceedingly rare, was harvested in 1988, comes from the house of a fetishist, it represents his power, when you enter the house of a fetishist who owns this throne, you know that you have in front of you an outstanding fetishist, a true sorcerer whose power is recognized by all. It is this throne that represents the power of ...

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Pair of shoulder masks Sukwava Wurkum
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Pair of shoulder masks Sukwava Wurkum

Ex Belgian private collection of African art J. Putteneers.

The Wurkum, like the Mumuye, have shoulder masks called Skuwava with an elongated neck topped by a head, sometimes miniaturized. Wurkum pieces are nevertheless more expressive than Mumuye pieces.
These imposing masks were traditionally worn during war preparation ceremonies but are now linked to healing and rain rituals.
These uncommon pieces come from the northern regions of the Benue Valley. The patina is smooth in coffee tones.

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Basket reliquary Losso
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Basket reliquary Losso

In African art, we find in several ethnic groups this tendency to create reliquary baskets, so it is not uncommon to find versions sometimes flared as in the Luba and Songye, or more vertical versions like this one.
In the basket are intertwined elements of various materials. Here, an anthropomorphic statuette with a simplistic face and raw patina shares the space with a piece of skull with small horns and other pieces of wood and rope.

The Losso practiced the cult of the ancestors, it was a good omen to honor them in order to attract their benevolence. Losso pieces are extremely rare.

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340.00  272.00

Pair of altar heads Benin Bronze
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Pair of altar heads Benin Bronze

Ex English private collection of African art.

These altar heads created using the lost wax technique are very loaded with details and patterns. The figures with realistic features have facial scarification and many finely detailed ornaments. This pair of busts presents a beautiful symmetry. The two figures wear a cross-braced garment with a collar bearing a bell.
The horns themselves are covered with geometric patterns and sculpted faces. At the top of each horn sits a soldier, helmet on his head and weapon in his fist.

The art of Benin is described as a court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as the oba. The tradition of Ifè bronze court objects dates back to the 14th century.

The numerous bronze heads and ...

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5990.00  4792.00

Oshe Sango Yoruba
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Oshe Sango Yoruba

Ex French private collection Guy Brunel.
Mr. Brunel, a chemist by training, traveled the world before becoming passionate about Africa, which he discovered through his eldest daughter. Zaire, Kenya, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Guinea,... Until his death, he will have accumulated nearly 600 pieces. His legatees have decided to put this collection on sale through our gallery.

The Oshe of the Yoruba are used during the ritual dances of "matriarca". They are carried in the left hand by the dancers. These figures represent, through their double-axe headdresses, the god of thunder and youth Shango, or Sango. The latter is the mythical ancestor of the kings of Oyo.
It is a deity feared for its unpredictability. He is revered because he brings beneficial rains to the crops. ...

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Tikar Maternity in bronze
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African art > Maternity, statues, bronze, wood > Tikar Maternity in bronze

The mastery of bronze in African art.

This is a typical representation of a maternal figure according to the canons of Tikar art.
Sitting on a royal stool, she holds two children on her lap. Of high lineage, it is richly adepped with jewels, necklaces and bracelets around the neck and wrists.
The headdress is very elaborate and many ritual scarifications cover her belly. The stool's seat is highly worked and rests on a five-character caryatid base.

The tribes that live in the Grasslands, northwest of Cameroon, are part of the Tikar peoples, divided into several independent kingdoms in the Bafut kingdom. The structure of the kingdom consists of a large chiefdom subdivided into quarters: the residences of queens, children and notables.

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Big pearled statue Bamileke
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > statue Bamileke

Ex French private collection of African art.

The Bamiléké, a sub-group of a larger tribe also made up of the Bamoun and Tikar, excelled in the creation of multicolored beaded statues, a sign of prosperity and wealth, giving the royal object the brilliance that distinguishes it from common objects.

A basic structure is carved in wood and then covered with a lattice of beads whose colors correspond to the different chieftaincies.

Among the Bamileke, as in other ethnic groups, art objects testified to the position of their owners in the hierarchy of society. Thus, the materials and shapes of the objects varied according to social status. King Bamileke, also known as the Fon, who was the guarantor of the fertility of the soil and the protection ...

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6750.00  5400.00

Big Bangwa Lefem Statue
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Bangwa Statue

The fame of Bangwa art in African art comes mainly from their statuary whose major works are the commemorative sculptures of kings, queens, princesses and titled servants, as well as parents of twins. in a small kingdom within the large Bamileke tribe in western Cameroon, the influence of the Bamileke on Bangwa statuary in which we find the same type of facial features and morphology although the pearls are not The position of the body is classic, with the upper and lower limbs flexed.Bangile statues of the Bamileke country, often represent the fertility but also the power and combativeness.They are often positioned on each side of the induction chairs during meetings of notables.

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Bamileke Bed
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African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Bamileke Bed

This bamileke bed is carved from a unique piece of wood.
The upper part is decorated with an animal, while the supporting parts are made up of heads and figures with typical bamileke features reminiscent of an elephant. The faces are relatively imposing and decorated with wide eyes. The ears stand out in the same plane as the face. The noses are flattened.
Among the Bamilekes, as in other ethnic groups, art objects testified to the position of their owners in the hierarchy of society. Thus, the materials and shapes of the objects varied according to social status. The Bamileke king, also known as the fon, guarantor of the fertility of the soil and the protection of his subjects, was not ...

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850.00  680.00

Djenne Jar
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African art > Jars, amphoras, pots, matakam > Djenne Jar

Ex private French collection of African art.

This is a jar of Djenne inspiration, this culture being extinct there are several centuries. It has an enlarged base that allows it to maintain its balance. The summit is pierced with a circular cavity. It is covered with a bright orange-red patina. Since the old Djenne sites are all in a flood zone, the inhabitants have always found pieces of terracotta that emerge when the water recedes. Objects from archaeological research or simply discovered by chance would come from a culture that developed from the eighth to the eighteenth century. The strong fragmentation of terracotta is still subject to debate. Indeed, the damage of time and burial certainly played a role but it would also seem that these pagan art objects were victims ...

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390.00  312.00

Great Statue Kouyou
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Great Statue Kouyou

Kouyou terracotta statues are distinguished in African art by the bright colors with which their patina is adorned.
We find figures sitting or standing as is the case here, arms always along the body. The head is almost spherical and very expressive, the eyes drooping and the mouth open. Curved polychrome motifs decorate the whole piece.

In the past, the Kuyu were divided into two totemic clans: the panther clan in the west and the snake clan in the east.
A secret men's association, Ottoté, played an important political role in the appointment of the chiefs.
The initiation of the young men ended with the revelation of the serpent god Ebongo represented in the form of a head.
The dances that accompanied the ceremony reactivated the successive stages ...

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450.00  360.00

Door of attic Baoulé
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African art > Doors, shutters, ladders dogon wood > Door of attic Baoulé

Ex private French collection of African art Colmant.

Like many peoples in Africa, the Baoulé decorate the gates of the granary by being inspired by the myth of the founder to protect the crops. In general, they are famous for the care they bring to the decoration of their everyday objects. The origin of the name " Baoulé " comes from " Bauli " meaning " the son is dead ", referring to the legend that Aba Pokou, then queen, sacrificed her son to allow his people to cross a river during the eighteenth century with the aim of settling in a region of gold mines.

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Bambara Maternity
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African art > Maternity, statues, bronze, wood > Bambara Maternity

Ex private French collection of African art.

This Bambara maternity shines with its verticality and the solemnity of its expression. The features are lengthened as often in Bambara statuary and in that of their close neighbors, the Dogon. The high decorated headdress hangs two braids. Recurring themes in African art, fertility and breastfeeding are addressed here by breastfeeding the two infants to this imposing breast. The patina is generally smooth, of a rather saturated brown. Usually kept in a secluded hut, this object was released during initiation ceremonies for girls and occasionally when a woman wanted help to promote fertility. The Bambara are found in central and southern Mali. They belong to the large Mande group, like Soninke and Malinke. They believe in the ...

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Guéré Mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Guéré Mask

Ex Belgian private collection of African art Edouard Bonhomme.
Very similar to the Bété masks, this Guéré mask is very stylized and has elements worn in projection.
The tubular eyes are strongly detached from the face as are the mouth and two small horns. The pointed ears are covered with kaolin. The forehead is rounded. Exhibited during funeral ceremonies, these "detective" masks are intended to point out the culprits.
The Guéré are an ethnic group from a forested region along the western border of Côte d'Ivoire. They are part of a larger Wé tribe that also includes the Wobé ethnic group with whom the Guéré share many customs and beliefs.

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Bangwa Beaded Statue
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Bangwa Beaded Statue

In African art, works in Bamiléké countries are distinguished by the regular use of pearls to decorate not only their masks but also their statues.
Besides the pearls, these examples make massive use of cauris in their decoration. There are several thousand of them on the body.
As a Bangwa statue, it is a royal statue that can be attributed to one of the nine Bangwa kingdoms located in the west of the country Bamiléké.
The statue is marked by a strong polychromy. It thus identifies the chiefdom to which it is assigned.
The position of the body, in very good condition, is classic with the lower and upper limbs bent. In the right hand, a snuffbox. A headdress that is always very elaborate. The neck is decorated with a series of multicolored necklaces that end with a ...

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3750.00  3000.00

Lobi Bateba Statues
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lobi Bateba Statues

This female statue features the typical aesthetic canons of the Lobi, simple features for a body and rather imposing limbs.

The lobi communities are organized around the spirits of nature. When honored, these spirits show their benevolence in the form of heavy rains, good health, and many births. Ignored, they remove it and lead to devastating epidemics, drought and suffering.
These figurines are placed on the tombs, in a dark corner of the owners' house, along with many other sculptures embodying other spirits as it takes many to face the many threats of the rural west African world.

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Big royal couple Bambara
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Big royal couple Bambara

When African art is regalien.

Imposing royal couple accompanied by his newborn. The statues are carved in a heavy wood and have many traces of desiccation attesting to the age of the pieces. The two characters sit solemnly, the king holding his attributes of power, the queen presented with his child like the other maternities of the ethnic group. Both wear elaborate headdresses and arm bracelets. The Bambara are found in central and southern Mali. They belong to the large Mande group, like Soninke and Malinke. They believe in the existence of a creator god generically called Ngala, which has 266 sacred attributes. One, by each day of the 9 lunar months that lasts the gestation of a child. Ngala keeps order to the universe. Its existence coexists with another androgynous god ...

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Pair of beaded thrones Bamiléké
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African art > Trone > Pair of beaded thrones Bamiléké

In African art, the Bamiléké excels by the realization of multicolored beaded objects.
The theme of these thrones is the snake found both for the folders and the caryatid base of the seats.
The records are composed of three levels framing two-headed snakes. The framing of the files is covered with curedness.
The reptile is also present in the lower part where it is shown coiled.
Sur one of the specimens, the snakes on the base are covered with brass.
The artist sought to play on the contrast of colors between pearls, curies, and brass.
The colours are assimilated to the different chiefdoms.

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Couple of Benin altar heads
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African art > African Shield > Couple of Benin altar heads

Benin altar heads in bronze, surmounted by a horn in bronze, sometimes in ivory.

The  commemorative head of a Chieftain  that bears the insignia of a high ranked dignitary, is one of the main characteristics of the altar. The worshipper thanks the head with his offerings and sacrifices. To the Chieftain this altar has a privacy meaning and is placed at the center (the heart) of the house. On the other hand, the ancestors altar is found in the first room, that is allowed to the strangers. Put on the ancestor altar, the head symbolizes the Chieftain  ability to reign and prosper.

Bambara King Statue
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Bambara King Statue

The Round of applause-mâna, of Round of applause: refusal and mâna: Master, Translated into French "those which refused to be dominated", more commonly known under the term of Bambara such as it were called by the colonists, hold especially by their dialect, derived from the language mandingue, an important place within the other ethnic groups of Mali. Indeed the popularity of the dialect will bambara is such as one could believe that it is the ethnos group will bambara which prevails in Mali.

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Large royal Benin plaque
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Large royal Benin plaque

These plates designed for being contemplated like paintings feature scenes of the regal entourage. Occasionnally they would also be used when an etiquette problem has to be faced with. The art of lost-wax casting achieves its

perfection by the depiction of these life scenes in the palace.


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