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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.

Figures of ancestors Fang Byéri
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Fang

Reliquary Guardians in Gabon's African Art
This rare double figure rises from common, muscular and semi-flexed lower limbs. A heavy tribal sculpture that can evoke a couple established on the same foundation, it was kept by the esa , the oldest man in the family, and presumably intended for a reliquary in which the bones of the ancestors were preserved. Glossy patina, black brown. Desication cracks. This type of object was placed in a dark corner of the box. The relics of the most remarkable ancestors were kept in cylindrical bark boxes near the layer of the lineage leader, initiated by the family cult of the Byery . Surmounted by a human effigy that affirmed their identity, they contributed to the protection of their descendants through regular sacrifices. Their function was to ...

Large Fali Ham pilu doll
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Fali doll

Belgian African art collection.
This African fertility doll, exceptional in its size and adornments, symbolizes the vows of marriage and the child that will be born from this union. It is the fiancé who realizes it and decorates it with multiple quolifichets before offering it to the young woman. A wooden soul is established on a quadrangular base, wrapped in a fabric and draped with thousands of pearl necklaces of various sizes and colors, round and tubular, associated with brass rings, parts, horns, leather, cotton cloth knots, cauris and raffia braids. A coconut bark hat was made for him, crowning the whole thing. The Kirdi , or "païens", as the Islamized peoples have named them, are established in the extreme north of Cameroon, on the border of Nigeria.They include the Matakam, ...


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2200.00

Edo benign bronze plate
African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Benin Plate

Ex-collection French African art.
Before the destruction of the palace of the Kingdom of Benin in 1897, the divine character of kings, the Oba , was illustrated by multiple works celebrating their power. In African tribal art, glorifying war scenes were reproduced on narrative plates, in bronze, and affixed to the walls. Sumptuous bronze altars, commemorative figures of deceased chefs, majestic felines, heavy bracelets, hairs and recades were produced in quantity in many workshops of smelters according to the technique of cast iron with lost wax. During the 16th century, oba Esigie commissioned the first copper alloy plates with embossed ornamentation. Many of them were cast in pairs to symmetrically decorate the pillars or walls of the palace. Olfert Dapper describes these plaques ...


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2650.00

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

This distinctive face of the African masks Baoulé called mask-portraits, presents, in the center of the eyebrow arch in the heart marked with the sign ngole , a delicately drawn nose, a hollowed mouth revealing two rows of teeth. Small growths animate the forehead, in relation to scarifications. The beard representation evokes a hermaphrodite character. Carved from a particularly dense wood, this piece of African tribal art has an oiled brown patina particularly lustrous and abraded by time. Residual kaolin inscrustations. Desiccation furrows reveal the light wood underneath. These portrait masks 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 itself at the end of ...


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Maternity figure Hemba / Luba
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba Luba figure

Tribal African figurative sculpture associated with maternity, devoid of ornaments, except a headdress composed of a diadem and mats gathered in the neck. Straight vertical scarifications appear on the cheeks. Meditative physiognomy with wide eyes in coffee beans. Shaped as a cure for sickness, sterility, to invoke guardian spirits, or for any other ritual use, it was part of the "mvidye", intermediaries between the spiritual world and individuals, who could also embody the spirits of nature Luba from Kasai. Brown and ocher satin patina. Cracks and erosions of the wood. The Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa. Their cradle is Katanga, specifically the Lubu River area, so the name (Baluba, which means "Lubas"). They were born of a secession of the Songhoy ethnic group, ...

Ibibio Eket crest statue of the Ogbom dance
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Ibibio figure

African art Eket. This Nigeria's statue, with a loincloth of vegetable fibers and pupils of brass, is established on a base whose perforations of the base make it possible to fix the basketry and the tissues which concealed the dancer. The semi-flexed legs evoke the Mbobo tribal dance of the girls during the Ogbom ceremonies, taking place in front of the altar at the end of the periods of seclusion. The crest masks were then kept near the chimneys of the huts to be protected from insects. Dark, smooth patina, kaolin residue. The Eket, established in the south east of Nigeria, are a subgroup of the Ibibio ethnic group known for its expressive masks. It is a patrilineal society whose villages are ruled by Ekpo Ndem Isong, a group of elders and heads of extended families. Their decisions ...

Yaka Musaw Neck Support
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African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Yaka neck support

Ex-collection Belgian African art.
This type of neckguard, called musaw or m-baambu, kept in the bedrooms, is one of the objects that incorporates the personal ritual charms of matrilinating leaders and heads of households to preserve their beautiful tribal headdresses. This bird would refer to the stork. Some of these sculptures included magical charges inserted in discrete cavities. Glossy mahogany brown patina. Hierarchical and authoritarian, composed of formidable warriors, the Yaka society was governed by lineage chiefs who had the right to life and death over their subjects. Hunting and the resulting prestige are an opportunity nowadays for the Yaka to invoke ancestors and resort to rituals with charms related to the institution "khosi". The youth initiation society is ...


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Reliquary Fang Byéri
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Reliquary Fang Byéri

Former Belgian private collection of African art Jan Putteneers.
Among the Fangs of Cameroon and those of Gabon, each family has a "Byeri", or reliquary box, in which the bones of the ancestors are preserved. These boxes were guarded by the oldest man in the village, the "esa". The reliquary boxes were topped with a statue or a head that acted as custodian of the "byi" boxes. These were kept in a dark corner of the box, and were intended to divert evil influences to someone else. They were also used during the initiation ceremonies of young people linked to the company "So". During the holidays, the statues were separated from their boxes and paraded.
This box is surmounted by a character similar to the keepers of reliquaries. With his legs bent, hands clasped, he rests on a ...


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Toma Landaï mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Toma mask

Ex-collection French African art.
Bush spirits and african masks of Poro rites From the appearance of the Landai African mask, the initiates went to the forest to stay for a month during which they would be taught. At the end of this journey, they will be subjected to a "ritual devouring" followed by a "symbolic rebirth". This heavy mask board with horns has a rectangular front volume surmounting a flat face on which tiny holes form the eyes and mouth. Its surface is embellished with engraved patterns and has a whitish coating that has extinguished the underlying red ocher. The Toma of Guinea, called Loma in Liberia, live in the forest, at altitude. They are famous for their Landaï masks-planks intended to animate the initiatory rites of the poro association which structures their ...


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Punu Mask Okuyi
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Punu mask

The dance's masks of Okuyi in African art.
A triangular top hull, chiselled with small braids, composes the hairstyle of the girl represented. Under a bulging forehead one of the eyes is half closed; the delicate nose is subtly carved, and the red-tinted lips line up in relief. "Mabinda" checkered scarification also decorates the forehead and temples. A dark band hemlines the face. Velvety matte patina. The ritual white make-up covering the mask could once have been kaolin mixed with bone powder from crushed dead, especially those of deceased twins. The red when it is present enhances sensory organs or scarifications. The counterparts of Okuyi masks are black-patinated ikwara masks, masks of the night, depicting elderly men or women. The punished masks were exhibited during rituals ...


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Ritual stick Beembé, Babembé
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African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Ritual stick Beembé, Babembé

Ex-French African art collection.
Can of prestige, this anthropomorphic object accompanied the movements of its owner and was then recorded in the earth. Modelled on a stylized long-form female figure whose arms entwin the lower abdomen, she has a second twin face, separated by a ringed neck, wearing the conical headdress of some Babembé. The object is engraved with intersecting parallel lines, and discontinuous linear motifs evoking ethnic scarifications. Satin-used patina and particularly velvety. Residueof kaolin coatings on faces. Few cracks in desication. Settled in the present-day Republic of Congo, the Beembé originally formed the kingdom of Kongo, along with the Vili, Yombé, Bwendé and Woyo. They were under the tutelage of King ntotela elected by the governors. The ivory ...

Galoa mask, Galwa
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Galoa mask

African art Galoa.
This shallow African mask has a smooth, velvety surface on which polychrome triangular patterns and kaolin points have been applied. The brow bone, whose rib is outlined in white, overcomes folded eyelids recalling the masks Bakwele and Vuvi. A narrow mouth forms a very slight bulge. This type of mask is used by Okukwé initiates from the Lower Ogoué Lake District to unveil wizards. It is after a divination rite that the mask will proceed to the appointment of the culprit. They were also exhibited at the funeral of chiefs or exceptional events such as the birth of twins. The Galoa (or Galwa), neighboring tribe of Punu, Pounou, live downstream of Lambaréné on the Ogooué River.


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Trunk Lulua, Luluwa, Bwanga bwa cibola
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African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Lulua Trunk

Ex-collection Belgian African art.
The top of this African trunk with a carrying strap consists of a statuette associated with the bwanga bwa cibola fecundity cult that is also present in neighboring Luba and Songye. These tribal female sculptures were coated with earthy libations before each ritual and then cleaned. Adorned with bracelets and necklaces, motherhood is also endowed with abundant scarification, a common practice at the end of the 19th century in Central Africa. These symbolic motifs are taken up on the walls of the instrument. These marks were signs of beauty with symbolic value, revealing physical and moral qualities out of the ordinary. Indeed, physical beauty, translated by the necessary keloids, went hand in hand with moral integrity, supposed to give children a ...

Baoule Nda two-sided Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Baule mask

Ex-French African art collection.
This two-faced Baoulé African mask that the hairstyles differentiate is carved from a rounded volume. This tribal sculpture evokes the complementarity between man and woman, but also the beneficial one of twins. Mask related to the entertainment ceremonies of the cult ndoma, its surface is covered with a thick scabby patina. The relief marks, ngole, represent the scarification of the ethnic group. These masks portraits of Baoulé, ndoma, which are part of one of the oldest Baoulé artistic traditions and frequently represent an idealized character, have the particularity to manifest themselves at the end of the entertainment dance ceremonies.The latter are named, according to the regions, bedwo, ngblo, mblo, adjussu, etc .... Each of these masks is ...

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

Songye Nkisi Statue with a nice patina, traces of natural pigmentation. Part on which one finds constant graphics, linear scarifications, stops rectangular and nose in triangle. Originating in Shaba as a Democratic republic of Congo, Songye are related in Luba, with which they divide common ancestors.


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Bobo janiform mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bobo Mask

A janiform African mask with a polychromy whose brown patina has tarnished the vivacity, it sports a rounded crest embellished with triangular patterns. These symbolize the magical amulets of the Bobo.The masks are repainted with each new dance season. Common features are noteworthy with some masks of the Markha, another Mandingo ethnic group. These heavy masks, usually designed around a hemispheric helmet with a ridge or horned growths, occurred during agricultural rituals in order to restore the balance of the earth. Their significance was revealed during the initiation of the young boys. A Mandingo people, most of whom live in eastern Burkina Faso, but also in southern Mali, the bobo Fing culture is similar to that of the Bambara. They are organized in lineages led by councils of ...


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

Ex-French African art collection.
This african mask songye, the kikashi , has protruding eyes, hollowed out, stretched towards the temples and an absent naso-frontal crest. The tubular mouth has an opening. Parallel streaks are dug on the surface of the wood, symbolizing plumage and the link with death. The spectacular effect is reinforced by the white/red bichromy, which is nevertheless worn out by time. Areas of abrasion and minor gaps are noteworthy. Three variants of this mask Kifwebe (pl. Bifwebe) or "Chasing the mort" (Roberts) stand out: the masculine (kilume) usually with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low crest or absent, and finally the largest embodying the (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still used today, appears to originate from the adjacent area ...


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Yoruba cutting statue
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Yoruba Statue

Votive sculptures and African art among the Yoruba
This tribal figure would represent an initiate kneeling in a position of devotion and whose offering cup contains benefits ready to be dispensed . The emblem of the god of lightning and social justice, Shango , consists of a set of stone axes that he is supposed to throw from the sky during storms. The deities of the rivers are also represented by stones and by the water of the rivers associated with them. The headdress would represent, in a stylized way, the stone axes would signal the connection between the male sky and the female earth, while the raised upper chest symbolizes fertility. A reference to the grouse, in connection with the Yoruba religious myths of the Baba Ibeji , is also linked to this attribute. The red of the ...


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Masque Chokwe Pwo
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Chokwe Mask

Ex-Belgian African art collection.
The African masks Chokwe pwo, among the many masks akishi (sing: mukishi , indicating the power) of African tribal art Chokwe, are exclusively female representations. Joined to their male counterparts, cihongo recognizable by their large plateau-shaped headdress, pwo must bring fertility and prosperity to the community. The cultural logic of these two icons developed during the pre-colonial period continues to inspire artists in north-eastern Angola.
The characteristic patterns on the forehead, and sometimes on the cheekbones, are part of the chokwe aesthetic canons but also served as public markers of ethnic identity. This recurrent cruciform frontal pattern would also have a cosmogonic meaning.
Always worn by higher-ranking insiders, ...


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Fétiche Kongo Nkisi
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Kongo Fetish

Ex-Belgian African art collection.
The elements bilongo conferring additional powers on this African statue of the type nkisi are concealed in a reliquary blocked by a mirror placed on the abdomen and in the multiple elements placed around the effigy. Additions of metal, vegetable fibres, dried fruits and seeds, cloth strips, packets stuffed with magic ingredients, all bound by ropes, participate in this defensive or offensive action. The glass gaze also symbolizes access to the supernatural world and understanding of hidden things. Dark brown powdery skate, kaolin residue. The magic ingredients "bilongo" were frequently concealed in the receptacle on the abdomen of the face, which was otherwise sealed by a mirror. The sorcerers nganga, both healers, were in charge of religious ...


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Sakalava ancestor statue
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Sakalava Statue

Ex-Belgian African art collection.
The tropical island of Madagascar is located off the coast of Mozambique. Its first inhabitants are said to have made up Polynesians who have taken refuge on the eastern coast of Africa, but have been repelled by Arab-Muslim traders. Several kingdoms developed there as early as 1500, including Sakalava on the west coast of the island. The most famous plastic achievements of the Malagasy are a statuary linked to funeral rites. While the statues of the Mahafaly were an integral part of pillars aloalo , the fragments of panels above the heads testifying, the figures of ancestors Sakalava , in round-bump, frequently represent the deceased and his companion of the opposite sex. The north-east of the tomb, sacred position associated with the aurora, the ...


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