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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.

Soko mutu Hemba Mask
African art > African mask > Hemba Mask

The spirit of a primate would be embodied in this hemba mask split with a wide rictus. The prominent forehead houses long eyelids, wrinkled by the grimace. A long nose extends vertically. Mate surface, rough, residual ochre deposits.
Only two types of Hemba masks have been identified: that of an anthropomorphic type with regular features, whose pointed chin recalls statuary, and those depicting monkeys, the soko mutu, and whose functions remain little known, but which probably belonged, according to J.Kerchache, to the secret societies bugabo and bdambudye . The smallest copies (about 20 centimetres) are said to have been carried by hand during rituals intended for the protection of the home and fertility. In addition to the kabeja janiform statuettes, the statues of male ancestors, ...


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180.00

Grand Mask Luluwa, Lulua
African art > African mask > Luluwa Mask

The Lulua, or Béna Lulua from West Africa, settled in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their caste-based social structure is similar to that of the Luba. They produced few masks, but especially statues of ancestors representing the ideal warrior, mulalenga wa nkashaama, as well as the head of the Leopard Society and statuettes mbulenga related to the spirits of nature. Despite Kalamba Mukwenge's attempt at the end of the 19th century to eradicate traditional cults by using autodafés, the religious system was maintained, such as the fertility cult tshibola. The Luluwa's distinctive eye-watering face is accompanied by the warrior's headdress and a sculpted beard divided into five braids. Curvilinear and keloid patterns in lozenges alternate on the surface. Light abrasions, red ...


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380.00

Lwalwa Nkaaki Mask
African art > African mask > Lwalu Mask

African masks Lwalwa, Lwalu.
It is near the Kasai River that the Lwalwa live, between Angola and Zaire. Historically having a matrilineal society, the Lwalwa, after being influenced luba and songye, adopted a patrilineal system within their rudimentary political and social organization. The male mask nkaki, nkaaki, carved from wood mulela, is one of four types of masks produced by the privileged caste formed by their sculptors. These craftsmen, according to their merits, can become conductors and organize dances, including the balango, during which acrobatics are performed by young dancers. These masks are then displayed, or worn during initiation ceremonies, or to soothe the spirits after an unsuccessful hunt.
A conical hairstyle painted with geometric patterns overcomes a ...


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380.00

Maternity Kongo Pfemba
objet vendu
African art > African Statues > Maternity Kongo Pfemba

Under-group of the Kongo ethnic group, the Yombe are characterized by a statuary with round or pointed headdresses, a mouth open on tapered teeth, and eyes in which the pupils are clearly visible. Scarifications in relief adorn the bust of effigies. Fertility and progeny, central themes of African cultures, are addressed through this motherhood or phemba. The mother sits in a suit on a stool, and breastfeeds her child. In order to activate its forces, the nganga had to insert a nail or blade into the object. The patina is smooth, shiny, mahogany red. In the 13th century, the Kongo people, led by their king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads between present-day DRC, Angola and Gabon. Two centuries later, the Portuguese came into contact with the Kongo and converted their king ...


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Chef Chokwe effigy
objet vendu
African art > African Statues > Chef Chokwe effigy

Chockwe in African art.
Sculpté in a piece of monoxyle wood, the character is here perched on a circular pedestal, knees half bent. The prominence of the abdomen is enhanced by amplified hands, as are feet with exaggerated volume, indicating its power. It bears the head adornment of the Chokwe aristocrats, high and elaborate, with curved side fins. Its high, bulging forehead, accentuated by shaving hair, was once an ideal of beauty among the Chokwe. On the other hand, the sculptor has particularly cared for the musculature of his subject, which the smooth and shiny brown patina also enhances.
Paisiblely 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 ...


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Statue Ibubi Metoko
African art > African Statues > Statue Metoko


All in geometry, this female statue named Ibubi , belonging to the Nkumi, former Bukota , was used as the figure kakungu for the initiation rites of male society and also played a role in mediations during litigation. Semi-mate two-tone patina. Very light cracks.
The Metoko and the Lengola, whose ritual sculptures are very close, are peoples of the primary forest dedicated to the worship of a single God, a monotheism rare in Africa. Their three-grade society, the Bukota, structured daily life and welcomed both men and women. It represents the equivalent of the association Bwami of the Lega. The sculptures played a role in the initiation ceremonies, and were then placed on the tomb of high-ranking initiates. Kakungu in particular was surrounded by other sculpted objects, ...


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280.00

Zande Yanda figurines
African art > African Statues > Statuette Ubangi

African art counts two types of Azande statues: The statues Kudu , with a height of between 30 and 50 cm represent ancestors, and statues Yanda 10 to 20 cm, of animal or human form, having an apotropaic role, exhibited during divinatory rites during the rituals of the society Mani . Stylized volumes for this Yanda figure carried by legs apart, semi-restended. Large arches running up to the jaws make up a female face in which the pupils are exorbited.
samsasy dark satin.br>Olysed formerly referred to as Niam-Niam because they are considered anthropophages, the tribes grouped under the name Zande , Azandé , settled, from Chad, on the border of the R.D.C. (Zaire), Sudan and the Central African Republic. According to their beliefs, man is endowed with two souls, one of whom turns into a ...


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280.00

Sculpted figure Lega Kasangala/Katanda
objet vendu
African art > African Statues > Statues League

A sculpted figure, among the many iginga objects referring to sayings charged with teaching the initiates of Bwami. The anthropomorphic sculptures with arms raised above the head would evoke, according to Cameron, the one who settled a dispute through his arbitration. These figures are named kasangala . At the same time, the object has a perforated bust of several holes, referring to the destructive work of a mat by red ants, also related to laziness and sexual debauchery. These objects are called Katanda. The object is coated with chipped kaolin.

This type of tribal art statuette was kept in the basket of high-ranking officers of the Bwami, a secret society that admits men and their wives, and governs social life. This organization was subdivided into initiation stages, the ...

Sakimatwematwe Lega figure
objet vendu
African art > African Statues > Multi-head statue

A stylized tribal statuette named Sakimatwematwe (Multi-heads) belonging to an insider of the Bwami, among the many others used during the initiations, its structure is in the form of a central trunk around which two groups of losangic faces, in the concave centre, are directed in the north-south and west-east directions. According to a Lega proverb, this statuette would always illustrate the need for a global view of events, and therefore the prudence, wisdom and impartiality that should result. (Biebuyck 1973)
As initiation course, the teacher guided the aspirant to a place where masks and statuettes were exposed, and it was through careful observation that the future initiate had to guess the more or less complex meaning of metaphors illustrated by the sculptures, the latter ...


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Lega janiform figurines
African art > African Statues > League figurines

Identifiable by its context of use, this bust, with two faces topped with a feathered top evoking one of the headdresses of the Bwami aspirants, belonged to an insider of the Bwami and was part of a set used over the years Initiations. It was only visible at that time. The teacher guided the aspirant to a place where masks and statuettes were exhibited, and it was through careful observation that the future initiate had to guess the more or less complex meaning of these objects, real metaphors referring to largely to proverbs and sayings. Those who were not allowed to see the object, in order to be protected, had to submit to expensive ceremonies, and sometimes even join the lower rank of the Bwami, the kongabulumbu , at great expense to the families. Each of these initiations took ...


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180.00

Igbo Ikorodo helmet mask
objet vendu
African art > African mask > Igbo Mask

The voluminous headdresses of Ikorodo masks in Nigerian African artThis Igbo African mask called Ikorodo in the Nsukka region of southern Nigeria glorifies youth and beauty, thanks to narrow eye slits, a face with sharp white-coated features, scarifications and tattoos in checkerboards or ornamental lozenges. The headdress is composed of three open fins topped with circular growths, hence the name of the headdress called 'corks'.
The white color of the gbo-gho-mmwo body refers to ancestral spirits, these masks frequently accompanying the deceased during funeral rites. Indeed, mmwo means 'spirit of the dead', especially of young girls, although it is worn by young men in order to honor the spirit of the earth. The headdress evokes the old female hairstyle adorned with brass pieces. ...


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Dignitary cane Kibango Luba
African art > Commander stick > Sceptre Luba

Among the emblems of prestige this type of scepter of luba dignitary. He was grounded at inauguration ceremonies and other important rituals. True sources of information about their owners and local history, the sceptres have a varied iconography. The wide part at the top, the dibulu, under the sculpted female figure referring to royalty, represents the administrative centre of each royal capital and bears motifs engraved with parallel lines forming diamonds. These drawings can be found on the mnemonic boards lukasa referring to Luba's political and spiritual history. The cane is divided into several sections engraved with geometric patterns meant to evoke the uninhabited savannahs and roads leading to the kingdom or the chiefdom. Incarnate deceased parents bakishi or spirits bavidye , ...


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380.00

Ngil s Fang Mask
African art > African mask > Fang Mask

Very graphic, this mask intended to unmask the sorcerers, sculpted on the eve of the ceremonies, reflects the desire to capture the mysteries of the night and intimidate the opposing forces. Accompanied by words, gestures, dances and sacrifices, he also intervened during initiations out of sight of the laymen. Patine mate polychrome.

The appearance of these masks, usually coated with kaolin (the white color evokes the power of ancestors), in the middle of the night, could cause dread. This type of mask was used by the ngil male society which no longer exists today. This secret society was in charge of initiations and fought against witchcraft. Ngil was a purifying fire rite symbolized by the gorilla. As a guarantee of peace, he also fixed the seasons, the location where the ...


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390.00

Okuyi Dance Punu Mask
African art > African mask > Punu Mask

Internalized and peaceful expression for this reduced version of the famous punu mask on which the nine scale patterns associated with traditional tribal scarifications are highlighted; a single braided shell caps the head. These hairstyles come in different forms and illustrate women's fashion during the 19th century in Gabon. A white patina, abraded, covers the face in contrast to the brown red from which the keloids and lips are dyed. The contours were damaged by storage conditions. Erosions.
The color of mourning is white, establishes a link with the world of spirits and ancestors to which were attributed protective and beneficial virtues. Okuyi masks were displayed during rituals with very ancient origins in which dancers mounted on stilts waved in order to invoke the spirit of ...


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280.00

Mask Sogho / Vuvi
objet vendu
African art > African mask > MasqueTsogho

Related to the African Okuyi masks of the Punu ethnic groups Shira tribes, African masks produced by peripheral groups, Vuvi, Galoa and Mitsogho , are also covered with white pigments aimed at apotropaic. Some, polychrome like our copy, sport colorful highlights. The slanted visor headdress, reminiscent of a hair fashion in the Shira group, was the front part of a hairstyle with shells. This mask offers a nose punctuated with perforations and a diamond mouth under which a grooved band evokes the scarifications of the ethnic group. The forehead is divided into two symbolic tones. A basket helmet, which is concealed by a fiber textile, is attached to the upper contours, bordered by a raffia braid extending sideways into two long mats.
The ethnic group Mitsogho is established in ...


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Figure Lobi in black iron
African art > black iron > Lobe Figures

The populations of the same cultural region, grouped under the name one-fifth of Burkina Faso's population. Few in Ghana, they also settled in northern Côte d'Ivoire. It was at the end of the 18th century that the Lobi, coming from northern Ghana, settled among the indigenous Thuna and Puguli, the Dagara, the Dian, the Gan and the Birifor. The Lobi believe in a creator God named Thangba Thu , to whom they address through the worship of many intermediate spirits, the Thil, the latter being supposed to protect them, with the help of the sooth, from a host of plagues. Bush geniuses, red-haired beings called Kontuor , are also expected to help them. To communicate with men, the different Thils ask for sculptures of bateba in order to be incarnated. Various sacred altars are erected around the ...


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150.00

Bwami Lega Mask
African art > African mask > Masque League

This mask is used during the initiation rites of the Bwami society. It is open to men and women. The passage of a rank indicated the acquisition of a certain individual wisdom and morality. Dark brown patina abraded. Kaolin residue.
At the Lea, the society of the Bwami 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 individuals live in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades, usually on the top of hills. The role of the leader, kindi, is held by the oldest man of the clan, who must be the highest ranking. As in other forest tribes, men hunt ...


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250.00

Chokwe Mwana Pwo Mask
African art > African mask > Tschokwe Mask

African masks Chokwe pwo , among the many masks akishi (sing: mukishi, indicating power) of African tribal art Chokwe, are exclusively female representations that were accompanied by accessories and adornments. Joined by their male counterparts, cihongo recognizable to their large tray-shaped headdresses, the pwo must bring fertility and prosperity to the community. The characteristic motifs 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 significance. Always worn by senior-grade insiders, these women's masks were often embed with buttons and accessories of European origin. Pointed teeth were once a criterion for beauty.


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390.00

Ligbi Yangaleya Mask
African art > African mask > Ligbi Mask

Framed with thin horns whose ends meet in front of the face, this African mask of Ligbi is associated with the calao (yangaleya). Discreet coloured highlights form the linear patterns of the scarifications of the face, and those of the mouth, known as cat whiskers. Speckled brown patina. Alterations.
Andeblis in the northern Ivory Coast, but also in Ghana, the Ligbi , Islamized, have however been influenced by tribal sculpture Senoufo . They borrowed elements that they incorporated into African masks related to the society of do . This masked tradition has been preserved to manifest itself during religious festivals accompanied by sacrifices and songs such as the end of Ramadan, and symbolizing in this way the breaking of the fast. Just before the festivities, if necessary, the ...


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280.00

Small Tabwa Buffalo Mask
African art > African mask > Tabwa Mask

Box mask reproducing in miniature the famous zoomorphic mask symbolizing power. Golden beige patina encrusted with residual kaolin. Desication cracks.
br-The Tabwa ('scarifier' and 'write') are an ethnic group found in southeastern DRC, around Lake Tanganyika. The tribes of this region, such as the Tumbwe , worship the ancestors mipasi through sculptures held by chiefs or sorcerers. A magical charge (dawa) was introduced to the top of the head of the statues. Soothsayers used such objects to expose witchcraft and protect against evil spirits. The Tabwa, a simple farmers without centralized power, united around tribal leaders after being influenced by the Luba. It was mainly during this period that their artistic current was expressed mainly through statues but also through masks. ...


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240.00

Oracle de divination Luba Katatora
objet vendu
African art > Usual african items > Oracle Luba

This African sculpture was a tool of communication with ancestors, used by the soothsayer during divination rituals. Incorporating the category of objects nkisi , nkishi , it is supposed to be endowed with a secret power, receptacle of a spiritual energy. The Luba, like their neighbors, use this type of objects related to the divination kashekesheke named katatora and lubuko. According to François Neyt, the object was carved from wood (kibekwasa ) with magical properties.
When the interview, the ring was caught by the soothsayer and his client, who dragging it over a mat or headrest in response to questions (producing the sound "kashekesheke", "extraction of truth"). Considered feminine, the object is a symbol, for the Luba, of the spiritual power available to the woman, represented ...





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