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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.

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

Fetish statue Nkisi , nkishi (pl. mankishi ) anthropomorphic desacralized, the umbilicus hollowed out having no magical charge At the top of his skull stood a horn, sealing the orifice into which ritual elements were also introduced. Light brown satin patina.

These protective fetishes for homes are among the most prized in Africa. The Nkisi plays the role of mediator between gods and men. The large examples are the collective property of an entire village, while the smaller figures belong to an individual or a family. In the sixteenth century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba River. Their society is organized in a patriarchal manner. Their history is inseparable from that of the Luba to whom they are related through ...


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150.00  120.00

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

Ex-collection of Belgian African art.

This African Lega mask indicated the stage that its holder had reached in the Bwami, an apprenticeship society made up of different grades, and which was joined by wives whose spouses had reached the third level, that of ngandu . Lustrous black-brown patina, residues encrusted with kaolin. Desiccation cracks. Height on base: 37 cm.
. Within the Lega, 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 during the 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also known as Warega, these individuals live in autonomous villages surrounded by palisades, usually on ...


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150.00  120.00

Songye fetish figure
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Songye fetish

A reduced reproduction of the kifwebe mask related to the Bwadi ka bifwebe society composes the face of the anthropomorphic fetish here opposite. The latter was carved in a dense wood in geometric volumes. The symbolic and magical ritual accessories are presented here in the form of a necklace of blue beads. Light brown patina.
The fetish Songye, magical sculpture Nkisi, nkishi (pl. mankishi ), plays the role of mediator between gods and men. The larger specimens are collectively owned by an entire village, while the smaller figures belong to an individual or a family. In the 16th century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle in Kasai, Katanga and South Kivu. Their society is organized in a patriarchal manner. Their history is inseparable from that ...


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180.00  144.00

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

This African mask Lega indicated the stage its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society composed of different ranks,and joined by wives whose spouses had reached the third level, that of the ngandu. A flat mask not intended to be worn, it was hung on a stockade among other masks, or attached to the arm.

Two-tone patina, residues encrusted with kaolin. Erosions.
Height on base : 32 cm.
Within the Lega, 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 during the seventeenth century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also known as Warega, they live in self-contained ...


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130.00

Lobi figure
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lobi statue

The Lobi ethic group are organized around nature spirits. When they are worship, these spirits send copious rains, good health and numerous births Neglected, they give curses and sufferings.. These spirits convey laws to the diviners which must be applied to get their protection. They are featured by figures made out of wood or copper called Boteba and put on altars in a corner of the owner's house, with lots of other sculptures.


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Baoulé statue Asia usu
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Baoulé

The right hand resting on the abdomen, when the left gently caresses the beard of this Asia Usu statue with a crusty patina. Many scarification visible on the back, face and neck. This work evokes the being of the earth (Asié Usu) and is part of a set of statues intended to be used in a medium-sized setting by the Komian soothsayers selected by the asye Usu spirits in order to communicate the revelations of the afterlife.
A sixty ethnic groups populate Côte d'Ivoire, including the Baoulé, in the centre, Akans from Ghana, the savannah people, hunting and farming, as well as the Gouro, whose cults and masks they borrowed. The basic unit is lineage, under the responsibility of an elder, whose functions are political and religious.


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Statue Baule Asia usu
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Ancestor Baoulé

The Akan cults in African art
This figure "Waka -Sona", ", wood being in baoulé", is patinated by oil anointings. Many scarifications run through the anatomy of the effigy. Both hands rest in the umbilical region. This gesture of life evokes the link with the progeny, the protection of the ancestor. Dense wood, satin surface. Two types of Waka-Sona statues are produced by the baoulé in the ritual framework: those that evoke an assiè oussou, being of the earth, and which are part of a set of statues intended to be used as a medium tool by the Komian soothsayers, the latter being selected by the asye usu spirits in order to communicate the revelations of the afterlife. The second type of statues are the spouses of the afterlife, male, blolo bian or feminine, the bia blolo . Some 60 ...


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Gunye gei mask - Dan
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Dan Mask

This ivory coast tribal mask is a racing mask (sharp face, hollowed out round eyes, mouth, it was held against the face using cotton strips attached to the perforations of the contours and knotted behind the head. An impasto mixed with nestling down, resulting from ritual anointings, concentrates at the top. One eye no longer has its metal strap. Satin-black brown patina.
The tradition was for its wearer to be pursued by an unmasked runner; if he was caught, he had to pass the mask to the winner, who in turn was being chased by another runner. These races were once intended to train men in running and fighting. This type of event is now very often linked to the holidays announcing the beginning of the dry season and those related to the initiation of young children. Smooth, sained ...


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115.00

Sao Sokoto Putchu Guinadji rider
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Sao bronze

In African art, Sao Sokoto inspired works are mostly marked by the equestrian world. Within the ethnic group, small examples of horsemen, generally made of bronze, are cast and worn as talismans, with a patina and a lustrous finish. They are considered above all as a remedy against possession by evil spirits. The horse represents the spirit of the person who is possessed, while the genie that possesses them is symbolized by the rider.
Subjected to successive assaults by their neighbors from Kanem and then by hordes from the East, the Sao had to abandon their lands to settle in the northwest of Cameroon where they mixed with the natives, thus giving birth to an ethnic group called Kotoko. More than an ethnic group, the Sao are a civilization that has now disappeared. They ...


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Seat caryatide Pende
African art > Chair, palaver seat, throne, stool > Pende Stool

Reduced size for this personal furniture object where the foot takes the form of a female figure in a kneeling position. According to Marc Léo Félix, however, few are the seats of dignitaries, because they were buried with their holders. The face here presents the famous look 'zanze' with the half-closed eyes found on the hanging masks. Dark patina abraded.

The seed live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the have settled on the banks of the Kasai river downstream of Tshikapa. The influences of the neighbouring ethnic groups, Mbla, Suku, Wongo, Leele, Kuba and Salempasu, were imprinted on their large tribal art sculpture. Within this diversity the masks Mbuya, realistic, produced every ten years, have a festive function, and embody different characters, including the chef, the ...


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140.00

Statue Nkishi Songye Kalebwe
African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Songye Fetish

This sculpture with angular shapes is the result of cooperation between the nganga, the craftsman and the client. Treated according to the instructions of the ritual priest, the figure intended for the client is then loaded with the elements bishimba intended to counter any evil force. In the case of the çi-contre fetish, the hollowed abdomen is devoid of it. The face is studded with upholstery nails. In African culture, metal has magical, therapeutic and apotropaic properties. The face that adopts the features of a middle-aged man recalls both the kifwebe mask. Satin black brown patina.
The fetish Songye , magical sculpture Nkisi , nkishi (pl. mankishi ), plays the role of mediator between gods and men. Large specimens are the collective property of an entire village, while smaller ...


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280.00

Goli s Kplé Kplé Mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Kplé Kplé Mask

This circular African mask, says Junior, has a crenellated border, with hollowed-out eyes topped with protruding conical pupils, it has a rectangular mouth in which was chiseled a teeth, in reference to the traditional image of teeth among young people. Reduced animal ears are shown on the rounded horns. The female kplekple mask, according to some authors (African Barbier-Mueller Masks, p.116) is said to be red. Vogel Baule) however indicates that in the Baoulé version of the Goli the male mask is painted red, and the feminine in black. It is likely that this allocation varies from village to village. Metal inlays.
Dedicating the manifestation of a series of family masks Goli, this circular mask with rounded horns evoking the antelope, is considered in some cases as a male mask, ...


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180.00

Luba / Zula Kipona seat
African art > Chair, palaver seat, throne, stool > Luba seat

Ex-collection British African tribal art.
Sacrality of the carved seats, regalia of prestige, in the primitive African art. A female figure squatting with legs widely apart (Zula style), supporting the tray of a circular seat, forms the "receptacle of a deceased sovereign chief" (Luba, Roberts). The protruding scarification marks converging towards the umbilicus, the "center of the world" associated with lineage, bear witness to notions of fertility. This stool named lupona ,or kioni ,kipona , kiona , according to the sources, is the meeting point of the sovereign, his people, and the protecting spirits and ancestors, where past and present symbolically and spiritually mingle. It once formed the foundation on which the king was enthroned. The seats were laid out on leopard skins ...


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280.00

Zande figure of the Yanda cult
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African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Zande figure

Stylized Yanda figure, with a bust devoid of arms imprisoned in metal wire, carried by wide, semi-flexed legs. The nasal bridge is hatched with scarification marks, the earrings are missing. Grainy satin patina. African art counts two types of Azande statues: The statues Kudu , of a height between 30 and 50 cm represent ancestors, and the Yanda statues of 10 to 20 cm, of animal or human form, having an apotropaic role, exhibited during divinatory rites during the rituals of the Mani society. br> Formerly referred to as "Niam-Niam" because they were considered anthropophagous, the tribes grouped under the name of Zande , Azandé , settled, from Chad, on the border of the D.R.C.(Zaire), Sudan and the Central African Republic. According to their beliefs, man is endowed with two ...


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Dogon Monkey Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Dogon Mask

This African Dogon "monkey" mask was collected in the 1950s by Monsieur Arnaud, accompanying Alain Bilot, Alain Bilot,
renowned collector of Dogon art during study stays in Mali.
Sheltering large orbital cavities, this heavy mask of angular structure forms the stylized evocation of a monkey. The matte, golden surface has also been rubbed with red ochre, whose crustal residues remain locally encrusted. Speckled powdery patina. Very slight lacks.
More than eighty types of Dogon masks are listed, of which the best known are the Kanaga, Sirigé, Satimbé, Walu. Most of ...


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Female figure Nebeli Mangbetu
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Mangbetu

The body tracings, like those of the face, are associated with the traditional paintings of the ethnic group, inspired by the tattoos of the neighboring Asua pygmies, and which varied according to the circumstances. In addition, among the Mangbetu, from an early age, children of the upper classes underwent compression of the cranium, held tight by raffia ties. Later, the hair was "knitted" on wicker strands and a headband was placed around the forehead to bring out the hair and form this majestic headdress accentuating the elongation of the skull. The ancients called beli anthropomorphic figures embodying ancestors, stored out of sight, and comparable to those belonging to their secret society nebeli . Dark oiled patina, desiccation cracks.br> The Mangebetu kingdom in northern ...

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Alunga Bembe masker
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bembe masker

High concave orbits where a cross is drawn symbolizing the cardinal points make up this African mask this African mask topped with horns. The raffia or papyrus ornament, now missing, was attached to the perforations in the contours.
This African mask Ibulu lya 'alunga (head of the alunga) was used during the tribal ritual of the male society Alunga, exercising social control over the clan, and responsible for public dances and ceremonies preceding the hunt.
Evocation of a forest spirit, this tribal mask was kept in sacred caves and it was during the festivals associated with the hunt and ancestor cults that it was displayed. They also appeared during Bwami circumcision ceremonies. Dark satin patina.
The Bembe ethnic group is a Luba offshoot that is said to ...


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210.00  168.00

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

Among the Kongo, the nganga performed rituals by activating a spiritual force with a nkondi (pl. nkissi). The term nkisi was later used to refer to notions of "sacred" or "divine". The most influential category of "minkisi kongo" consisted of instruments to assist regional chiefs in enforcing the law. A metal object was nailed to a wooden figure as soon as a decision was made, each nail evoking a particular case: litigants, divorce, conflicts between communities...The nkondi wanted to ensure that the agreement that was to settle the conflict was well enforced, and that individuals feared the consequences of their behavior. His appearance thus personified the force residing there. From the second half of the twentieth century, minkisi minkondi were strategically placed along the coast of ...


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Pende Mbuya Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Pende Mask

Ex-collection of Belgian African art.
This African initiation mask, Mbuya, comes from the Western Pende, whose Yaka influence is noticeable by the slightly rolled up nose. Endowed with wide drooping eyelids, it reminds us of the Pende's custom of not staring at the eyes in public. This African Pende mask wears a headdress made of canvas and raffia fribres, and a goatee. Total height on adapted base: 39 cm.
The Western Pende live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the Easterners settled on the banks of the Kasai downstream from Tshikapa. The influences of the neighboring ethnic groups, Mbla, Suku, Wongo, Leele, Kuba and Salempasu have been imprinted on their large sculpture of tribal art. Within this diversity, the realistic Mbuya masks, produced every ten years, have a ...


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Luba Mikisi figure
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Luba figure

Playing the role of spiritual medium, this female luba figure is represented in a classical attitude, hands on the chest. Her headdress, behind a wide band revealing a shaved forehead, is related to the one worn by Luba women at the beginning of the 20th century. By her symbolic gesture she indicates that the secrets of royalty ( the bizila )belong to women thanks to their role of political and spiritual intermediary. The scarifications in relief on the abdomen, horizontal on the lower abdomen, scatter her bust. The umbilicus presents a prominence that also insists on its role of fertility and transmission of life. Matt dark brown patina. Crack of desiccation in the back.
The Luba (Baluba in tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa. Their cradle is Katanga, more precisely ...


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Songye Nsapo Axe
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African art > Weapon > Songye Nsapo Axe

Old and endowed with a beautiful patina, this piece comes from a Belgian collection of African art. The wooden handle features a honey-coloured satin patina. The trapezoidal blade is sharp and lined with perforations. Attack weapons were often used as currencies in trade before colonial times. Originally from Shaba in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Songyes form a patriarchal society related to the Luba, with whom they share common ancestors. Governed by the yakitengé , and by local leaders, they are also subject to the influence of the secret society Bwadi Bwa Kifwebe whose masks are renowned.


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