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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.

Large Songye Kifwebe Mask
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African art > African mask > Songye Mask

Extraordinary pupils project on either side of the nasal ridge of this songye mask that unfolds at the top in high flat crest. A rectangular tube forms the mouth. This African mask whose volumes helped inspire the Cubist artistic movement is streaked with lines encrusted with white pigment. Patina mate, erosions at the top.
Hightop: 88 cm.
This types of African art mask Kifwebe are listed: the masculine (kilume) usually with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) would present a more modest crest or absent, and finally the greater embodying power (kia ndoshi). In the 16th century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba. Their society is organized in a patriarchal way. Their history is inseparable from that of the Luba to whom they ...


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Funeral statue Metoko
African art > African Statues > Statue Metoko

It was during funeral rites that this figure appeared, whose head cut into angular planes adopts a distressed expression. The digitized hands, gathered under the chin, seem to support the jaw. The exorbited pupils also mark the dismay. Referring to the masked dancers' outfits, cuffs and a raffia works belt, embellished with textile balls, give it an unusual character. Patina matte abrased, polychrome highlights. Cracks and abrasions.

Cossased statues named Ibubi , belonging to the Nkumi, a former Bukota used as the figure kakungu for the initiation rites of male society, played a role in mediations in disputes. The Metoko and Lengola, whose ritual sculptures are very close, are peoples of the primary forest dedicated to the worship of a single God, a rare monotheism in Africa. ...


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280.00

Zaouli Dance Gouro Gu Mask
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African art > African mask > Guro Mask

African Masks Gouro from central Côte d'Ivoire
This monoxyle sculpture features a smiling female face, whose hairstyle is topped by a tambourine. The room is enhanced with dark and beige tones, plum reflections for the face.
Among the group of Mande in the south, in the center of Côte d'Ivoire, on the banks of the Bandama, the Gouro are organized in lineages, and constitute the western neighbors of the Baoulé who have borrowed several characteristics of their creations. Animists, they have been using a family of masks associated with the dy Zaouli. Indeed, like the African masks Goli des Baoulé, all Guro masks, related to the geniuses of nature, come in two zoomorphic masks followed by a third anthropomorph, who is considered the wife of the mask zamblé , the Gu . The Gu , ...


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Mossi Mask
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African art > African mask > Mossi Mask

African art at the Mossi.
It is in the northern centre of the Mossi country that this type of convex African masks, with a prominent central ridge, are carved. This abstract head copy, with a zoomorphic character, is distinguished by hollowed-out holes in triangles overlooking a tubular nose shape. A central horn splits into a blade between the small vertical ears. Geometric patterns imbued with kaolin are dug on the matte and grainy surface. Stylistic similarities are sometimes noted with the zoomorphic masks of the dogon, a neighbouring people. Mossi masks, personal or lignagers, are an embodiment of tutelary spirits offering their support. They perform at funerals, at the funerals of clan leaders, protect the crops. Genuine altars without their costume, they can receive libations ...


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Bemba zoomorphic mask
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African art > African mask > Bemba Mask

The zoomorphic masks of the Bemba, Babemba, Wemba, or Mubemba (not to be confused with the Bembé of eastern R.D.C.) are preserved by hunter societies and exhibited during agrarian festivities and rites. The Bemba, from Maniema, claim to be of Luba origin and have settled on the shores of Lake Moero, near Zambia, and Lake Tanganyka. During the 19th century, the Bemba participated in the slave trade by allying with the slave king Msiri. Colonial politics dispersed them in the 20th century. Their leader now reigns in Kasama, Zambia, they believe in a supreme god, Lesa, worship nature spirits, Ngulu, a snake named lunga, and mythical ancestors. Their very diverse art was influenced by that of their neighbors, Luba, Lunda, Tabwa, Nyamwezi.Their statues present aberousal scarifications running ...


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Masque Bembe du Bwami
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African art > African mask > Masque Bembe

Large concave eye sockets, in which the globular eyelids are incised, dominate in this African mask Bembe. The horns of the forehead are born from the same base. The frightened owl would have inspired these zoomorphic characters. A rectangular mouth is incised with teeth. These masks accompanied the rituals of passage during the circumcision ceremonies of the Bwami.Patine polychrome mate.

The Bembe ethnic group is a Luba branch line that is believed to have left Congo in the 18th century to settle near Tanzania and Burundi. Their society and artistic tendency are influenced by their neighbouring 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 for society ...


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Great Dan Tankaglé Mask
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African art > African mask > Masque Dan

This African dan mask is equipped with an extended hood with a large headdress, consisting of textiles and feathers from a basket frame. Cauris, sheep horns, pearls, bells and raffia line the contours of the face. The dancer wearing this mask is called takanglé. At the top of the forehead points a protrusion punctuating the angular cheekbones and luscious diamond lips, harmonizing this face coated with a matte black patina. This mask can be hung on the wall or placed on a bespoke base.
This is as a result of dreams in which spirits manifested themselves that the masks were sculpted according to precise indications in order to be honored through their apparitions. The Dans also sculpt, according to the soothsayer's indications, miniature masks on the model of large masks. They are ...


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Statue Boyo, Buyu, Mizimu
African art > African Statues > Statue Buyu

The decorative motifs are carefully chiseled here, highlighting the salient volumes whose rhythm follows in a balanced way. Large eye sockets lined with eyebrows engraved in ears extend to the center of the face. The nose, carefully worked, dominates lips rolled up on a regular teeth. The rectangle-cut shoulders and extended arms separated from the bust, and the strong flexed legs, evoke energy and bravery. Effigy of a royal ancestor all manhood, this sculpture was arranged, accompanied by a female statuette, sheltered in a small funeral hut. Dense wood, some splinters and desication cracks. Patine mate.
On the accounts, the Boyos are of Luba ancestry, by an ancestor who emigrated with his brothers. Migratory flows have mixed within the same territories of the Bembe, Lega, Buyu ...


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350.00

Animal mask Luba Mukisi a kukaya
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African art > African mask > Luba Mask

This large, rather rare African mask depicting a night owl was worn in the company of a circular kifwebe mask accessorized with a voluminous raffia collar that concealed the dancer. These masks occurred during different traditions: investitures, funerals, and rites against witchcraft in the various initiation societies. In the eastern part of the Luba region, important ceremonies are held in tribute to the clan's ancestors, deceased chiefs, and the new moon. Offerings are then granted to the spirits of nature, intermediate between the group and the ancestors. In the Luba, white is synonymous with the relationship with the spiritual world and the moon, which is also evoked by the nature of the animal depicted. Pupils in the centre of large circular orbits are hollowed out; the small erect ...

Dugn be Bidjogo Mask
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African art > African mask > Bidjogo Mask

Ex-collection French African art.
This zoomorphic African mask with real horns comes from the 'a href'U'0022https://africa.uima.uiowa.edu/peoples/show/bidyogo"' Bidjogo , established in the Bissagos Archipelago of about thirty islands off the coast Guinea-Bissau. On this massive piece depicting a gaping-mouthed bovine head, the noes are adorned with a metal buckle with a rope. A rope is also intertwined at the base of the horns. White pigments highlight certain organs. Cracked wood, matte patina.
The mask is worn before or at the end of the initiation ceremonies, by a young initiate " cabaro ", who will bend and pitch up, conveying the idea of a vigorous but still untamed young animal, and the need to go through the process to acquire discipline and mastery.  These ...


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Figure of ancestor Hemba Singiti
African art > African Statues > Statue Hemba

Symbolizing a local chief, this Hemba effigy, whose characteristics were once attributed to the Luba, was carved to create a link with the guardian spirits. The Hemba clan leaders had several statues of ancestors whom they venerated and to which they dedicated offerings in order to establish their legitimacy. The position is classic, hands valuing a protruding abdomen, symbol of lineage. The sophisticated headdress is bounded by a tiara.

Black brown Patine. Satin surface. Split base.
The Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa, established in the south-east of the R.D.C, on plains surrounded by streams. Their cradle is the Katanga, specifically the region of the Lubu River, so the name (Baluba, which means the Lubas). They were born from a secession of ...


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450.00

Holo Pakasa buffalo mask
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African art > African mask > Holo Mask

Ex-Collection Swiss African Art.
This zoomorphic mask appears at the end of the initiation ceremonies. It symbolizes the power and spirit of vengeance. It is also associated with healing rites and also intervenes in hunting-related rituals. The ears, in the same axis as the diamond eyes, are adorned with oxidized metallic loops. Lack at the end of a horn and under the muffle. Non-homogeneous satin brown patina. Located in the Democratic Congo between the Yaka and the Chukwe of Angola, the small Holo ethnic group migrated from the Angolan coast to settle near the banks of the Kwango River. Hunting and agriculture provide for their livelihoods. Neighbouring ethnic groups, such as the Suku, influenced their traditional sculptures. The Holo have indeed produced masks and prestigious ...


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Statuette Mangbetu
African art > African Statues > Statue Mangbetu

The fan hairstyle of this female figure was sported by the Mangbetu: from an early age, the children were compressed from the cranial box by means of raffia bonds. Later, the hair was \


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390.00

Female figure Mangbetu Beli
African art > African Statues > Statuette Mangbetu

Combined with fertility rites, this sculpture adorned with multicolored pearl necklaces that highlight its slender shapes exudes the beauty of a young pregnant woman. The object expresses fullness by the protective gesture of the hand placed on the bulging abdomen. Body lines, like those of the face, include traditional ethnic paintings, inspired by tattoos of the nearby Asua pygmies, and which varied according to the circumstances. Indeed, among the Mangbetu from an early age, upper-class children suffered a compression of the cranial box, held tight by rapia ties. Later, the hair was 'knitted' on wicker strands and a headband would enser the forehead to bring out the hair and form this majestic headdress accentuating the elongation of the skull. The ancient names beli anthropomorphic ...


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240.00

anthropomorphic Cuba Bushoong cup
African art > Usual african items > Cuba cup

Among the prestigious objects held by members of the Kuba royal family and peripheral groups, such as Bushoong and Dengese, this stunning palm wine cup, remarkably made, features a head drawn on curved legs. The face recalls the morphology of the large royal Kuba masks with a flared hairstyle behind shaved temples. Checkerboard engravings complete the ornamentation. Dark satin patina.
The Kuba kingdom was founded in the 16th century by the main tribe Bushoong which is still ruled by a king, and whose capital was Nshyeeng or Mushenge. More than twenty types of tribal masks are used in the Kuba or people of lightning, with meanings and functions that vary from group to group. Ritual ceremonies were an opportunity to display decorative arts and masks, in order to honor the spirit of ...


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240.00

Kongo/Vili Nkisi fetish statuette
African art > African Statues > Vili Fetish

The statuette with a bulbous abdomen containing a magic charge could be included in the category of therapeutic fetishes. The amalgam or bilongo introduced consisted of various ingredients from the natural environment including red clay, red wood powder tukula, white clay pembe... , but possibly human fragments such as teeth, nails, hair. This fetish of conspiracy was supposed to influence the health, prosperity, enemies of its holder. Among the Kongo, the specialist named nganga , took charge of the rituals by activating a spiritual force with a nkondi (pl. nkissi). The term nkisi was then used to refer to the terms 'sacred' or 'divine'.
The Vili, the Lâri, the Sûndi, the Woyo, the Bembé, the Bwende, the Yombé and the Kôngo were the Kôngo group, led by king ntotela. Their kingdom ...


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240.00

Luluwa Warrior Statue
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African art > African Statues > Statue Lulua

Ex-collection French African art.
The primitive art of CongoThe different types of statues Luluwa, Lulua, or Bena Lulua, present multiple scarifications, and glorify local leaders, motherhood, fertility and the female figure. This character sports a prominent umbilical and a streaked lower abdomen, center of the body and " object of all solicitudes" ( The Power of the Sacred , M. Faïk-Nzuji ) Diamonds, erogenous and symbolic protruding scarifications, checkered circles and rectangles embellish strategic parts of the anatomy of this warrior effigy. An appendage in the form of a loop ending in a bun forms her hairstyle. It is in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo that the Lulua, or Bena Lulua, from West Africa, settled. Their caste-based social structure is similar to that ...


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Masque Chokwe Pwo
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African art > African mask > Tchokwe Mask

This African Chokwe mask features a basket helmet draped in a textile and extended with a woven seedling in plant fibres. An abundant hair, composed of twisted cotton ribbons, conceals the whole. The hairstyle is reminiscent of the red earthen hair of the Chokwe women. A narrow headband decorated with raised motifs is carved on the forehead. The fineness of the features is a recurrence in the sculpture of Chokwe masks. Dark brown, sained skate. Peacefully settled in eastern Angola until the 16th century, the Chokwé were then subjected to the Lunda empire from which they inherited a new hierarchical system and the sanctity of power. Nevertheless, the Chokwes never fully embraced these new social and political contributions. Three centuries later, they eventually seized the capital of ...


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Double statue Chamba
African art > African Statues > Couple Chamba

This double Chamba figure has a red ochre crusty patina, locally chipped. Best known for their buffalo masks, the Chamba communicated with the spirit world through these statues. However, their functions remain little known. This sculpture offers great similarities to the piece sculpted by Soompa before 1940 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond (U.S.A)and which appears on page 73 of the book "Arts of the BenueU Valley,0022 published by the Museum of Quai Branly. According to the authors, these statues were used during rituals in Mapeo in Nigeria and Yéli in Cameroon.The central block joining the two characters has a large frontal crack. Part of one of the oversized feet on which the sculpture rests is missing.
Installed since the 17th century on the southern shore of the ...


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240.00

Gelede mask
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African art > African mask > Gelede mask

Gelede in African art. Gelede mask adorned with a bird, harvested in situ by the late Jacques Anquetil , a theatre man who became 'a href'https://www.youtube.com/watch?v-U11uL7JBpEQ' master weaver initiated by the Dogon, president of the French Crafts. In Nigeria, also in Benin, this African mask worn at the top of the head is used for Gelede's rejoicing dances, and for the funeral of its followers. These masks occur in pairs, each with a specific name. A single scarification adorns the cheeks here. Similar copies with no tether holes in the case of Yoruba, Rivallain and Iroko, ed. Hazan. Patine mate, beautiful preservation of the original painting. Desication cracks.
The Gelede country in Nigeria pays tribute to the mothers, especially the oldest of them, whose powers would ...


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Fetish Yaka Njila
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African art > African fetish > Statuette Yaka

A small fetish whose stylized face evokes a bird, he was placed inside the house to protect against witchcraft and other malice. These tribal statues protecting against enemies were made according to the instructions of the Nganga ngoombu and the object's sponsor. These lineage charms were then activated using rituals and incantatory formulas. Powerful fertility properties were supposed to accompany this bird-faced statuette named njila.
Archalist and authoritarian, composed of fearsome warriors, Yaka society was ruled by lineage chiefs with the right to life and death on their subjects. Hunting and the resulting prestige are an opportunity for the Yaka today to invoke ancestors and to resort to rituals using charms related to the institution .Khosi. The initiation society of young ...


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