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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.

Scepter Tchokwe
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African art > Usual african items > Scepter Tchokwe

Tshokwe Chiefdoms and African Art

Intended to exalt the qualities of the leader, mark of ostentation, this scepter represents the political and symbolic power, by a sculpture in round-bump which represents Chibinda Ilunga naked and in seated position, hunter and mythical hero, founder of the Chokwe ethnic group . Easily recognizable by his wide cap with curved lateral wings (cipenya-mutwe), he had taught his people the art of hunting. The chiefs had a major function in the rites of propitiation for the hunting and fertility of women, the objects being adorned with this figure having, therefore, a protective function. Peacefully settled in eastern Angola until the 16th century, the Chokwe were then subjected to the lunda empire from which they inherited a new hierarchical ...


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Kasai Kuba Shoowa Velvet
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African art > African Textile > Textile Cuba

The African art and refinement of the weaving KubaProducts in Zaire by the Shoowa, Bashoowa, subgroup Kuba , these fabrics forming real first art paintings, consist of a raffia textile base on which threads are cut to the brim, forming a velvet effect accentuated by contrasts of tone. The geometric patterns formed represent the bodily scarifications of the ethnic group or the decorations of the sculptures. These refined fabrics were intended to be used at the royal court, as a seat or cover, to enhance its prestige. They in many cases took value of money, or also followed their owners into the grave by covering the body of the deceased. It was King Shamba Bolongongo who introduced the technique of velvet weaving to the Kuba country in the 17th century. He had previously introduced the ...


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Great Punu mask from Gabon
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African art > African mask > Okuyi Mask

Evoking the Japanese masks of No, this face mask is nevertheless a production of the Punu of Gabon. Beneath the eyebrow arch in the heart, protruding eyelids offer a half-closed look, the nose with wide pavilions highlights a mouth with a fleshy design. The three-hulled braided hairstyle illustrates one of the many fashionable hairstyles in Gabon at the beginning of the 20th century. The checkered scarifications, mabinda, often tinged with red ochre, are inscribed on the forehead and temples. According to some authors, these keloid marks are associated with the nine clans that founded the Kongo kingdom or the different migratory routes. gabon's tribal mask was associated with Gabon's various secret societies, including the Bwiti, Bwete, and the Mwiri ("le"), the latter spanning several ...


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Statue Paré / Zigua Tanzania
African art > African Statues > Paré Fetish

This male figure, represented in an unusual position, a leg widely slanting, adopts a voluminous head in which the pupils were set with pearls. The large circular ears also form one of the specificfeatures of East African statuary. Arms with joined fingers are brought back in front of the bust, and an assemblage of animal horns and dried fruit features the genitals. The feet, very frustrated, have the appearance of stumps. The sculpture is swaddled in a red fabric that a brilliant ritual-encrusted, locally cracked, stiffened slitm. The resulting patina, dark brown, is speckled with residual light ochre pigments. The top of the head has been hollowed out to place ingredients that are now absent for protective or therapeutic purposes. This statue comes from the northeastern region of ...


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490.00

Effigy of Chief Tchokwe
African art > African Statues > Statue Chokwe

Singularity of the works of African art Chokwe
A remarkable finely detailed composition qualifies this African statue of the Chokwe composed of four interlocking elements. It features a chef wearing a European hat and sitting in a prestigious seat reserved for notables. His large, oversized hands hold a tobacco pot. Tobacco use was widespread among the Chokwe, and smoke was an integral part of offerings to spirits ajimu . The meticulous treatment of facial features, and the chiseling of fingers and nails is noteworthy. The beard is also made up of human hair. The repatry application of castor oil and dyes vegetable decoctions has given the sculpture a black patina. (B. Wastiau) Peacefully settled in eastern Angola until the 16th century, the Chokwé were then subjected to the Lunda ...


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450.00

Baga Bansonyi Mask
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African art > African mask > Baga Mask

Serpentiform initiation mask used mainly by Bulongic (Kifinda village), a subgroup Baga of the Guinean coastline, its size can be up to 2.50 m. These masks were divided into two groups bearing the names Mosolo kombo and Sangaran , each with precise functions. Their design took shape in an esoteric context at night in the forest. Privileges of initiated men, embodying a spiritual entity, Baga Sangaran masks only attended circumcision, every 24 years according to ethnologist Denise Paulme. During some dances the mask was placed on the head, held in balance by a bamboo structure and by the arms of the wearer himself covered with a cloth and a raphia loincloth. At baga Koba, the mask was worn on the shoulder, without a suit. In other groups, the mask appeared in different contexts. This ...


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Baule loom
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African art > Usual african items > Baoulé chicken

Everyday aesthetics for African art in Côte d'Ivoire. In Côte d'Ivoire, the most ordinary objects had to meet aesthetic criteria. Furniture, ornaments, utensils, fabrics, are pretext for a refined artistic expression on the part of sculptors.
The cotton weaving technique has spread to West Africa thanks to the displacements of the Dioulas. Prior to colonization, cotton-fibre textiles, the latter described as " white gold", were also used as a bargaining chip. Prestigious adornments, the woven ceremonial loincloths, sometimes in large numbers, accompanied the chefs in their tomb, among the Kuba, but also among the Baoulé.
This is a smooth pulley stirrup with a head. Delicately chiseled with diamonds, the piece is surmounted by a face imbued with a character of serene ...


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Dogon Gate
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African art > Door shutter > Dogon Gate

Ex-collection French tribal art.

In African art, doors, shutters and all the closing systems of attics and squares have become highly prized objects for collectors around the world. This door is made up of an assembly of three vertical planks fixed by two thin horizontal slats. It has a lock representing a Dogon mask. Carefully sculpted, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic representations appeal to the rich Cosmogon Dogon. The characters can symbolize previous generations, mythical ancestors, but the owners of the attic also appear frequently. Each of the characters at the top of the panel, in relation to spiritual life, wears a kanaga mask, displayed by the Dogon during mourning ceremonies. The walu mask is also inscribed in bas-relief, and breasts, a pattern associated with ...


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Statue Dan Lemei Liberia
African art > African Statues > Dan, Lümè, Liberia

Ex-French African art collection.
Gifts of women, food, festive ceremonies and honorable status once rewarded sculptors to whom this talent was bestowed during a dream. The latter was the means of communication of Du , an invisible spiritual power, with men. The rare statuary played a prestigious role with its holder. These are mainly effigies of wives, lm , wooden human beings. These are not incarnations of spirits or effigies of ancestors, but prestigious figures representing living people, often commissioned by the chiefs, whose statues will bear the names. They are placed in miniature boxes built for this purpose. Velvety dark brown patina. For the Dan of Côte d'Ivoire, also called Yacouba, two distinct universes are opposed: that of the village, composed of its inhabitants, its ...


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280.00

Baga Nimba Mask
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African art > African mask > Baga Mask

Baga religious practices and African art. Mixed with Nalu and Landuman , Baga live along the coast of Guinea-Bissau in flooded swamp regions six months a year. They believe in a creative god called Nagu, Naku , which they do not represent, and which is accompanied by a male spirit whose name is Somtup . Apart from the famous Nimba mask, they have created a powerful mask, a hybrid of snake, gazelle, chameleon and crocodile, in order to communicate with the spirits of the forest. The face of the Baga Nimba mask is characterized by a buzzed nose evoking a bird's beak, an incised hair divided by a crest. This national symbol can reach up to 50 kg in its largest versions. Real name Demba / D'mba (or Nimba in baga language), it represents the nurturing woman, but it also evokes the bird, ...


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Pendé Mask
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African art > African mask > Pende Mask

Ex-Belgian African art collection.
This African mask of the Centre Pende has a forehead whose wrinkles depicted by bleached furrows evoke, in African tribal art hangs, resentment, impulsivity and violence, and are reserved for masks embodying frightening characters. Total height on base: 44 cm. The western Pende live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the oriental 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, take on a festive function, and embody different characters, including the chef, the soothsayer and his wife, the prostitute, the ...


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Lipiko African Mask - Makonde - Tanzania
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African art > African mask > Masque Makonde

Ex-French African art collection.
The shapes and proportions of this African cephalomorphic Makonde mask embodying an ancestral spirit reflect a desire for realism. The ancestors would return masked to mark their satisfaction following the initiation. Some of these masks have wax tattoos or scarifications incised in the wood. The implantation of human hair, as in the Tiv, helps to reinforce the realistic character of the mask. The thick protruding lips revealing ritually incised teeth remain a singularity unique to Makonde's statuary. Garnet red, features with black pigments. Desication crack at the base. The Makonde of northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania wore helmet masks called lipiko during initiation ceremonies for young people. The Makonde venerate an ancestor, which ...

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Statuette Kusu ou Songye
African art > African fetish > Songye Fetish


The Kusu established on the left bank of the Lualaba have indeed borrowed the artistic traditions of the Luba and Hemba and have a caste system similar to that of the luba .  The Hemba settled in southeastern Zaire, on the right bank of the Lualaba River. Formerly under the rule of the Luba , these farmers and hunters practice the worship of ancestors by means of effigies long attributed to the Luba.The statues singiti were kept by the fumu mwalo and honored during ceremonies during which sacrifices were offered to them. Alongside the authority of hereditary chiefs, secret, male societies such as bukazanzi , and women, bukibilo , played a big role within the clan.
This statuette also recalls the productions of Songye and Nsapo, equipped with horns in which a magic charge was ...


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350.00

Ngil Fang Mask
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African art > African mask > Fang Mask

This African mask of the Fang illustrates one of the many stylistic variations of the Fang masks of ngil, starting from a full-length volume in which high orbital cavities are dug, housing thin slits for the eyes, a very long appendice nasal and a mouth that is commonly reduced or absent. Incisions represent scarifications, on and on either side of the nose. The mouth here forms in a wide pout. A sheet of metal forms a cap around the crest. In the years, storage conditions, and insects have left their mark on this object, reinforcing its powerful appearance. The appearance of these kaolin-coated masks (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 men's society ngil which no longer exists today. This ...


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Figure masculine Fang Byéri
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African art > African Statues > Statue Fang

The Ntoumou in the African art of Gabon
This copy of a statue fang still having its reliquary has specificities specific to the statuary of the African tribal art of North Gabon; it also has, housed in the reliquary in bark, bone fragments, presumably cranial, of the ancestor to whom this reliquary was doomed. The proportions and quality of the model of this Pahouine sculpture are noteworthy. The bones of the deceased fang were kept in boxes topped with a sculpture supposed to watch over the relics. Presenting various regional types, however, they are designed according to an invariable principle, a figure in the face "en heart, with frequent addition of copper or brass metal, hands joined with a cut or not, on a pedon. They are also distinguished by their hairstyles and general ...

Mask Dan Zapkei or Gunye gei
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African art > African mask > Race mask

Ex-belgian African art collection.
This African mask Dan is a mask called "of course" (sharp face, round eyes hollowed out, mouth muzzle) of a soft symmetry. It was held against the face using cotton strips attached to the perforations of the contours and knotted behind the head. Tradition has it that its wearer be pursued by an unmasked runner; If he is caught, he must pass the mask to the winner, who in turn will be pursued by another rider. 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. This copy may have had another use because the eyes were originally incised horizontally. The metal strap, correcting ...

Statue Pombo Sapi Kissi
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African art > African Statues > Statue Nomoli

French African art collection.
Among the tribes living in Sierra Leone, Mende and Kissi, mostly rice farmers, worship stone statues dating from the Sapi kingdom. The latter stretched from Guinea to Liberia until the 16th century.The Temné organized themselves as chiefdoms led by a supreme leader. The company ragbenle or mneke, responsible for fertility, intervened at the death of the chief. The association bundu, meanwhile, prepared young girls for their adult lives. The Temne and Bullom made a lot of ivories "afro-Portuguese" following European orders. The Mendé's U-002nomoli", placed on altars, benefited from libations in order to increase harvests. These stone sculptures, mostly in steatite or saponite, called pombo (deceased) played, on the other hand, in the Kissi, a role of ...


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Figure masculine Ejagham
African art > African Statues > Statue Ejagham

This statue would evoke an Ikem dance dancer sporting the extravagant hairstyle consisting of volute growths, depicting the hair extensions of the girls at the end of their period of initiation. It was carved from a wood that was then sheathed with animal skin, mostly antelope. The mouth reveals ritually cut teeth. Stretched eyelids open onto bleached globes. The elements of the head are removable. The dancer's costume consisted of a large lattice of raffia ropes, and more recently, cotton fabric. The masks were coated with palm oil before use, and placed in daylight so that the leather would soften and adopt a satisfying luster. Leopard societies, such as the male society Kpe, Ngbe among the Aro, used this crest model for initiation ceremonies or funerals of association members, but ...


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450.00

Figure Nkisi Congo Yombe
African art > African Statues > Fétiche Nkisi

Tribal statuette consecrated by the priest nganga , it has a magical charge lodged in the abdominal cavity blocked by glass. The load or bilongo 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, like the Roman pennates, was therefore supposed to influence the health, prosperity, enemies of its holder. Metal pupils are housed in orbital cavities that were to be sealed with glass. In the expressive face the mouth grimaces, revealing the teeth. Truncated arms are spread parallel to the bust, and the lower limbs, muscular, are camped on large feet. The headdress is characteristic of the statuary Beembé and Yombé, other tribes of ...


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190.00

Masque Lega Lukwakongo
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African art > African mask > Lega mask

Lega Minimalism in African Art
Named Lukwagengo, these African masks are worn on the face but on the back of the head, hung on the shoulders, fixed on a bamboo stand or carried by hand during dances
These are the badges of the penultimate rank of bwami initiates who surround a mother mask named idumu .
The wooden versions measure about 20 cm while the bone or even ivory versions are even smaller. Within the Lega, the society of 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 called Warega, these individuals live in self-contained villages surrounded by ...


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Songye protective fetish statuette
African art > African Statues > Songye Fetish

Originally from Shaba in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Songye are related to the Luba with whom they share common ancestors. All sober, this anthropomorphic figure devoid of ritual adornments retains the specifics of the Songye statuary, with the appearance of the Kifwebe mask, the bulging belly without ventral charge bishimba in this case, on which come to rest hands, stocky legs, spread, semi-flexed, supported by broad feet with a circular base. The Kuba did not produce fetishes, they procured them from their Songye neighbours, considered experts in the field. Since the object could not be touched, it was inserted with rods or iron hooks under the arms to move it. These home protection fetishes are among the most prized in Africa. Nkisi plays the role of mediator between gods ...


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125.00





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