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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.

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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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

Hemba Kihona stool
African art > Chair, palaver seat, throne, stool > Hemba stool

Supporting a circular tray with her fingers placed in a fan shape, a female figure sculpted in the style of the "master of Buli" forms the "receptacle of a deceased sovereign chief" (Luba, Roberts). The prominent scarifications, in spikes, dot the bust where the umbilicus forms the "center of the world" associated with lineage, and on the lower abdomen, horizontal, they symbolize fertility. This stool named lupona ,or kioni or kipona , kiona and again kitenta ("seat of authority"), according to the sources, constitutes the meeting point of the ruler, his people, and the protective spirits and ancestors, where past and present are symbolically and spiritually mixed. It once formed the seat on which the king mulopwe was enthroned. The seats were laid out on leopard skins during ...


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390.00

Lobi Buthib talisman figure
African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Lobi talisman

Carved figurine for individual use, for, according to Lobi beliefs, a protective or therapeutic action. These statuettes were placed on the altar after a ritual to be the receptacle of a bush spirit, the Thil, and thus become an active being, an intermediary fighting against sorcerers and all other harmful forces. When honored, these spirits would manifest their benevolence in the form of abundant rains, good health, and numerous births; ignored, they would withdraw it and bring devastating epidemics, drought, and suffering.
They are supposed to transmit to the diviners the laws that the followers must follow in order to enjoy their protection.
They are represented by wooden or copper sculptures called Bateba (large or small, figurative or abstract, they adopt different ...


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180.00

Lele, Bashilele mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lele mask

In the category of masks with a flat structure, this Lele mask presents features of low relief. The unusual hairstyle forms superimposed bands. Semi-satin patina.
The Lele , neighbors of the Tschokwe and Pende , live in the west of the Kuba kingdom and share common cultural characteristics with the Bushoong of Kuba country. Both groups adorn their prestige objects with similar motifs. Their society, headed by a " nymi" king, includes three classes, that of the Tundu or war chiefs, the Batshwa ("those who reject the Tundu authority"), and the Wongo called after the neighboring ethnic group. The ritual ceremonies are under the authority of the elders, chiefs of each village who hold the secrets of medicinal plants. These elders once formed, with the parents of twins, ...


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180.00

Statue Dan L-Me - Ivory Coast
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Dan

Double shells cap this female figure of Dan as a wife. The face is reminiscent of the Dans' masks. A concentrated attitude, her arms curiously folded, she is camped legs apart. Tribal scarifications are finely rendered by patterns in braces. Very beautiful satin patina dotted with kaolin residue. Lack on the end of the foot.
See gifts of women, food, festive ceremonies and honorable status once rewarded the dan sculptors to whom this talent was granted during a dream. The latter was the means of communication of Du, invisible spiritual power, with men. Statuary, rare, played a prestigious role with its holder. These are mainly effigies of wives, la m , wooden human beings. These are not incarnations of spirits or effigies of ancestors, but prestigious figures representing living ...


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210.00

Mbole Short sword currency
African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Mbole currency

The blade of the sword, weapon of prestige then currency of transaction, carries in its center of weak traces of hammered reasons. The contours are irregular, the patina oxidized rusty orange.
In Africa, before the colonial period, payments were never made in coins. Transactions were made by means of cowrie shells, pearls, cattle, kola nuts, but also metals, especially iron. These primitive currencies were used for commercial and social exchanges, particularly for dowries, but could also be used as parade objects or throwing weapons. In Sierra Leone, goods were valued in relation to iron bars called barriferri. The king usually controlled the production or delivery of the kingdom's currency. The variety of these metal forms is wide, and they sometimes take the form of ...


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180.00

Baoule/Yohoure mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Baule mask

This tribal art sculpture of a face with delicate features has a satin black patina. Kaolin highlights mark the lowered eyelids.
These Baule portrait masks, ndoma , which are part of one of the oldest Baule artistic traditions and frequently represent an idealized character, have the particularity of appearing at the end of entertainment dance ceremonies.These are named, according to the region, bedwo , ngblo , mblo , adjussu , etc.... Each of these masks are distinguished by hairstyles, location and choice of scarification, etc... Also called Gbagba , they personify graceful young girls or men whose valor or qualities of integrity are renowned. The new generations are gradually replacing these dances Mblo called Gbagba in some villages, retaining most of the old ...


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Lega Iginga figure
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lega figure

The tribal art of the Lega, Balega, or even Warega, is distinguished by its initiation statuettes, also made in ivory, some of which were kept in a basket for the highest ranking Bwami of different communities.
This type of tribal art statuette Iginga ( Maginga in the plural), was the property of the high ranking members 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 the Kindi.
The statuettes were used in the course of the initiation of the aspirants. Each one is a representation with a particular form and meaning from which a moral or dogma always derives. The particularity of the Lega, contrary to other ethnic groups, is to judge the quality of ...


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190.00

Teke Mask - Tsaayi Kidumu
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Teke Mask

Only the Tsaayi, among Gabon's Téké subgroups, produced wooden masks as early as the mid-19th century. They were used by members of the secret male brotherhood kidumu (the kidumu is the name of society, dance, and mask), dances at the funerals of village notables or at weddings and other important ceremonies. Since Congo's independence, they have appeared more and more at the celebrations of rejoicing. This sculpture using the plank mask is not fitted with eye perforations and could be a box mask.
The pictograms of the Téke masks emphasize oppositions symbolizing duality in the universe: circular, they are divided horizontally by a band and their surface is decorated with geometric patterns painted with white, red, black or ochre pigments. In addition to lunar symbolism, these ...


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