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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.

Mask Baoulé heaume
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Baoule Mask

Private Italian collection of African art. Mask-heaume formed of a dome representing the bust of a character, whose arms are rounded to place the hands around the umbilical. Then rises a neck strangely covered with a padded shell composed of braids, an extension of which comes to lean on the bust a concave face. Two orifices were performed on the hem, at the height of the subject's chest, to allow the wearer's vision. The circular base is also punctuated in order to fix the raffia adornment that once accompanied the mask. Clear, velvety patina, wood with some shards and native repairs.

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Okuka Punu Forge Breath
African art > Bellows of forges, African art, tribal art > Okuka Punu Forge Breath

This Punu anthropomorphic bellows, from the J. Putteners collection of African tribal art, is a remarkable early 20th century sculpture. Decorated with an elegant head similar to Okuyi masks, two buckets whose contours are highlighted with ropes and covered with animal skin each topped with a handful of braided leather, it extends with two nozzles reminiscent of legs. The padded top-hulled headdress extending into the nape of the neck is embellished with a collarextension around the face. Typical Punu scarifications forming checkerboard patterns are present on the forehead and temples. The coffee bean eyes seem closed, completing the expression of serenity. A rich kaolin patina covers the face with the exception of red-coloured hemmed lips, as does the headband. Apprentice blacksmiths are ...

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Gelede Altar
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Gelede Altar

African art among Gelede.

Carved according to the principle Gelede mask crest, but in miniature, this object has a head with globular eyes and Yoruba customary scarification, supporting a circular base on which stands a small awning where officiate two followers. One is kneeling and presents an offering, the second, positioned in an opposite direction, stands. A frieze of red and green lozenges decorate the base of the altar, these same colors being taken from the face and the roof. A crusty and velvety patina is used. Concerning the ceremonies of the Gelede, Efe, practiced mainly in the western Yoruba kingdoms, the masks are built on the same principle: a face (mask-helmet type) and a scene that develops on the top of the mask. These are used in the context of masquerades ...

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Poro s Senoufo neck end
African art > Head rest > Senoufo neck end

Harmony of curves for this long zoomorphic neckrest featuring a quadruped, owned by a Harmony collector of curves for this long zoomorphic neck rest rest by a quadruped, owned by an Italian collector of African art. The sculptor departed from the realism of the proportions, these having probably been designed for the purpose of stability, the curvature of the back acting as a headrest. The latter presents a satin patina resulting from repeated contact, as opposed to the dullness of the rest of the object. Still trimmed with his canvas shoulder strap attached to the animal's neck and tail and enhanced by two cauris, it was carried by its owner during his travels. The tail is punctuated with regular openings where cotton strands have been knotted. This type of piece was also used during the ...

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 Wall Ham Pilu Doll
promo art africain
African art > African Dolls > Wall Ham Pilu doll

The coronation of marriage in African art.
Great Fali engagement doll, the Fali living in North Cameroon, but also on the border of Nigeria and Chad.
Around a wooden structure, the doll is entirely trimmed with a multitude of multicolored pearl necklaces depicting the body and braided hair.
The arms are made of leather straps with the ends decorated with cauris.
This type of African fetish doll is carried like a child, in the back of the young woman. and is offered to her among others present by her fiancé who chooses the sex.
It is therefore a guarantee of marriage and the hope of starting a family. The young woman will take care of the doll until the birth of the first child, then separate from it
The size and weight of the doll reinforce the bride's ...

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850.00  850.00

Autel Egungun Mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Autel Egungun Mask

The Egungun Show in Yoruba African Art Small altar that is a miniature representation of the traditional costume whose name Egungun means " returning ", and which is part of the ancestor worship during an annual festival lasting between 7 and 21 days.

They are worn and spinning during danced ceremonies accompanied by tam-tams, their shimmering colors rivaling each other. Specifically, these costumes are designed to appease the dead, and only rich families can afford this type of holiday. Before their performance, the bearers of the costume come to bow before this altar, a receptacle capable of temporarily sheltering the souls of the deceased. An anthropomorphic support of wood hides under a petticoat covered with a top plate trimmed with large panels of fabric trimmed with ...

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Great throne Tikar in bronze
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African art > Chair, palaver seat, throne, stool > Great throne Tikar in bronze

Ex private French collection of African art.

This tikar throne is an exceptional piece composed of a multitude of small cariatid characters with different looks, accoutrements and ornaments.
Among other things, the king is found with his court composed of dignitaries.
Set in the central place of the upper rank, it is surrounded by musicians and women.
The seat, back restand and armrests are decorated with geometric patterns.

The Tikar set sain set in the western part of central Cameroon, which lies within the middle-altitude secondary dense forest along the Mbam River. Within this ecotone, the "plaine tikar" (named after its current occupants) is a depression that leans west and north respectively to the Mbam massif (and its Mapé and Kim ...

Yoruba pillar
African art > Post, Toguna, Dogon, Lobi, Ambete, sogho, oron > Yoruba pillar

The Yoruba, more than 20 million, occupy the south-west of Nigeria and the central and south-eastern region of Benin under the name of Nago.

They are patrilineal, practice excision and circumcision. Frequent in Yoruba African art, and for good reason, it is the central theme of the story named " The death and the rider of the king ". This fiction tells the funeral of the late King of Oyo, an ancient African state founded in the 15th century, neighbor of the Kingdom of Dahomey, and the tradition that his rider, Elesin, must commit suicide within thirty days of the death of the king in order to to follow in due course the Yoruba religious dogma. The death of the rider is indeed intended to guarantee the king a safe conduit to his new home. Elesin, a simple man enjoying life, is ...

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Mask of shoulders Mumuye Sukwava
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Mask of shoulders Mumuye Sukwava

Ex private German collection of African art.

This mask mumuye sukwava said " shoulders ", miniMaliste, is surmounted by a small head own statues iagalagana mumuye: a long neck and big ears drooping surmounted by a summit point, such a helmet. The reduced face which decorates the room has a very stylized facies with severe expression and is decorated with scarifications starting from the commissures of the mouth. Time-damaged wood: drying slots, strong erosion of the lower base. Velvety matte patina. Formerly intended for war rituals, these masks are now used for the invocation of rain and are on the other hand prestigious items. The Mumuye, in small family groups, are in a lowland area on the banks of the Bénué River in Nigeria. Shoulder masks are not exclusive to Mumuyé but ...

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Ijo mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Ijo mask

Ijo masks feature creatures born of the imagination usually related to aquatic life.
In fact, the Ijos living mainly from fishing and agriculture, and their small villages located in swampy areas west of the Nun River, their cosmogony naturally centered around this environment. References to their warrior past abound in reliquaries, rituals and masked celebrations.
Their masks and other artistic productions are intended to honor aquatic spirits, otojo, which they venerate and to whom sacrifices were intended. Fishermen had to be careful not to offend these spirits or they could kill their wrath by means of the various dangerous animal species in the area, such as hippos, crocodiles or pythons. The Ijo believe that spirits and humans come from the same place called Wonyinghibou ...

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Dogon Statue
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Dogon Statue

Private collection Recupero
The wide variety of African art production Dogon.
Statue seated, hands resting on the thighs. The belly is prominent, in reference to fertility. Above the excessively stretched neck the face has an angular styling whose soaring shape of the nose is characteristic of the Dogon. The crested hairstyle is incised with rafters. Heavily eroded wood, clear patina.
The main dogon religious leaders are the Hogon, priests of the lebed cult, dedicated to agriculture. One of the most important ceremonies of the lebe is called bulu; it celebrates the renewal and return of life, and takes place in the spring. The ancestors are honored through the cult binu, and give their benevolence in turn to their descendants. Blacksmiths and woodcarvers form a separate ...

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Statue Dogon Tellem
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Dogon Tellem

Ex-collection French African art.
The Dogon Tellem statues are recognizable by their figures depicted standing with their arms raised.
The Dogons may have taken this attitude from the previous occupants of the beautiful bandiagara cliff, a people named Tellem. The raised-arms figures always symbolized a prayer to Amma to grant the rain essential to all life, and it could also be an act of contrition after the violation of a ritual law caused the drought.

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Zoomorphic stool Chokwe / Imbangala
African art > Head rest > Zoomorphic stool Chokwe / Imbangala

Ex Belgian collection of African art. This tribal sculpture intended for the chieftaincy was part of the collection of the Jesuit father Vincent Charles.

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Costume Egungun Yoruba
African art > Headdresses and hats, headdresses > Dress up Egungun Yoruba

Polychrome among Egun in African art.

This traditional costume whose name Egungun means " returning ", is part of the cult of ancestors on the occasion of the various events in the life of the community. Specifically, these costumes are designed to appease the dead, and only rich families can afford this type of holiday. This full suit is composed of large and heavy fabric panels embroidered with velvet and covered with multicolored and shimmering metallic pellets. Worn during danced ceremonies accompanied by tam-tams, they always sport & nbsp; very bright colors. The one we offer is also adorned with many small decorative elements, gray-gray such as cowries and small pearls, symbols of power and prestige. On the fabrics we also find patterns inspired by African fauna.

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Djenne Statue
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Djenne Statue

Traditional African art can be a source of inspiration for contemporary craftsmanship, a representation inspired by authentic Djenne statues, a man kneeling, head turned to the right. The old sites Djenné are all in flood zone, the inhabitants have always found heads that outcrop when the water withdraws. Rolled by the waves, these pieces are found very far from their original archaeological site.

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

The doors of the Dogon constructions are collector's items, and once this is the case, this piece is sober, devoid of motif or anthropomorphic representation.

It consists of two large planks securely fastened with iron staples. The lock and the hinges are always present. 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 south-west of the Niger loop in the Mopti region of Mali (Bandiagara, Koro, Banka), near Douentza and part of northern Burkina Faso (northwest of Ouahigouya). ). Villages are often perched on top of the hillside scree, in a unique architecture. The history of migrations and installations of the Dogon (about ten main groups, about fifteen different ...

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Stick Oshe Eshu
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African art > Stick of command, chieftaincy > Stick Oshe Eshu

The term Eshu refers to one of the spirits or orisha from Yoruba religious traditions, including his equivalent named Papa Legba in Brazil and Haiti, and Elegua in Cuba following the deportations of slaves captured on the coasts of Benin and Nigeria.

Eshu is a deity related to communication but his role is broader. Of this orisha indeed depends the protection of the home, the city and, in a general way, of all that is conceived by the Man. By its attributes and virtues, Eshu was initially associated with the Devil by Western settlers. However, contrary to the Judeo-Christian and Greek religious conception, the African tribes and in particular the Yoruba, do not have divinities distributed in Manichean way. Each orisha has its beneficial and evil side. This association ...

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Statue post Yoruba Opo
African art > Post, Toguna, Dogon, Lobi, Ambete, sogho, oron > Statue post Yoruba Opo

In African art, any element of everyday life can become an artistic medium, as this Yoruba veranda statue illustrates.

A character carries on his head a plateau surmounted by a rider and his horse. Above the latter, there is another character, probably a sage given the highlighting of his beard. As often in Yoruba statuary, the patina is made up of relatively bright colors. Although the piece has pigments more discreet than usual, the polychrome has been well preserved. Yoruba society is very organized and has several associations whose roles vary. While the egbe male society reinforces social norms, the aro federates farmers. The freeze has more esoteric and religious aims. The notables meet in a society called esusu.

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Crest buffalo Mumuye
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Crest buffalo Mumuye

This bovine mask has simple shapes and a worn patina due to use.A wide mouth composed of two half rings is projected from the lower part of the mask. The horns present at the top of the skull make it possible to determine that it is about a representation of buffalo, animal recurrent in the artistic expression and in the African cosmogonies. The Mumuye are a people very famous for its stylized pieces, whether masks or statues.

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Large bamileke beaded statue
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Large bamileke beaded statue

Ex private French collection of African art.

This imposing and exceptional beaded statue reaches 1m35. The Bamiléké, a subgroup of a larger people also made up of the Bamoun and Tikar, excelled in making multicolored beaded statues, a sign of prosperity and wealth, giving the royal object the brilliance that distinguishes it from the common objects.

A basic structure is carved from wood and then covered with a beaded lattice whose colors correspond to the different chiefdoms.

Among the Bamilékés as in other ethnic groups, the art objects attested to the position of their owner in the hierarchy of society. Thus, the materials and shapes of objects varied according to social status. King Bamiléké, also known as fon, guarantor of soil fertility and the ...

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Ambete reliquary statue
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Ambete reliquary statue

Former Belgian private collection of African art Jan Putteneers.

The Mbete are renowned for their statues with a back hollow intended to receive magical substances or relics of ancestors.
The forehead is massive and the eyebrow arches that underlie it overlook the lower part of the face. The eyes are small and circular. The mouth is gaping and adorned with nails.
The character has his shoulders thrown back and his arms bent, hands resting on his abdomen.

A finely crafted metal coating covers the entire room and is held with nails. The eyes are composed of cauris.
Some reliquaries sometimes have a small door to close the dorsal cavity, but this is not the case here.

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