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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 neck support
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African art > Head rest > Songye neck support

Used as a pillow to preserve the user's hair arrangements, the African neck rest forms a tribal object adorned with different iconographies embodying spiritual forces that are supposed to influence dreams. A caryatid figure, in a crouching position, supports with his arms widely deployed the tray of this neck support. The effigy is depicted wearing a female songy mask named kikashi, still in use today. This type of mask is worn during initiations with a long suit and a beard made of natural fibers. Plateau and base are eroded. Medium-brown patina, studded inlays.br-The Songye came from the Shaba region of the DRC and settled between the Lualaba River and the Sankuru River in the middle of the savannah and forests. They are governed by the Yakitengé and local chiefs. The secret society ...


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Masque Ngady mwaash Cuba
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African art > African mask > New product

The rites of induction and funeral in African art
More than twenty types of masks are used in the Kuba, 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 the deceased or to honor the king.
Three types of masks have been associated with dances that take place in the royal precinct: the first, called Moshambwooy, represents Woot, the founder of the Bushoong, the hero of culture. The second, known as Nady Amwaash (Ngaady Un Mwash), plays Woot's wife/sister, a character who would have been introduced to give more importance to the role of women. The third mask is called Bwoom. As a character, Bwoom was variously interpreted as a prince (the king's younger brother), a ...


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Fertility figure Lulua Buanga Bua cibola
African art > African Statues > Statuette Luluwa

The different types of statues Luluwa, Lulua, or Bena Lulua, with multiple scarifications, glorify local leaders, motherhood, fertility and the female figure. Figures such as the one presented are part of the cult Buanga bua cibola, and are believed to protect children and pregnant women. By the position of the hands indeed, this character highlights a prominent abdomen, center of the body and object of all solicitudes. ( The Power of the Sacred, M. Faïk-Nzuji) Protruding scarifications adorn the body, and a single curl of curies and pearls remains in the ear. Satin brown patina. Fine desication cracks.
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 ...

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

This African Fang mask illustrates one of the many stylistic variations of the Ngil Fang masks, distinguished by their austere appearance. The face is highlighted with parallel grooves evoking the tribal scarifications in use, and the hairstyle takes up one of the many models worn by the locally abraded bleached Fang.Patine.
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 male society ngil which no longer exists today. This secret society was in charge of initiations and fought against witchcraft. The ngil was a purifying fire rite symbolized by the gorilla. The wearers of these masks, always in large numbers, appeared at night, lit by torches. ...


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380.00

Masque Kumu, Komo, Nsembu
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African art > African mask > Masque Kumu

African mask named Nsembu , which performed in male-female pairs, it was used by the sorcerer's society Nkunda within the clans living in the north of the Uituri region. The surface is coated with a polychrome dotillage, an allusion to the animal world, and the color pigments that adorn the bodies during the initiation rites. Patine mate. Height on suitable base: 44 cm.

The Kumu , Bakumu, Komo, live mainly in the North-East and central Democratic Republic of Congo. Their Bantu language is komo or kikomo. Several ethnic groups are closely intertwined, with similar associations: the Mbole, the Yela, the Lengola, and the Metoko. Their artistic production also has great similarities with that of the Metoko and Lengola. Their divination masks were displayed during the closing ...


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Masque Kumu, Komo Nsembu
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African art > African mask > Nsembu Mask

African mask named Nsembu, which performed in male-female pairs, used by the nunda sorcerer's society within the clans living in the northern region of Uituri. A large toothed mouth and small close-up eyes form traits that are supposed to impress the assembly of initiates. The mask is embellished with polychrome dotted, an allusion to the animal world and the pigmented motifs that adorn the bodies during the initiation rites. Patine mate.
The Kumu, Bakumu and Komo, live mainly in the North-East and central Areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their Bantu language is komo or kikomo. Several ethnic groups are closely intertwined, with similar associations: the Mbole, the Yela, the Lengola, and the Metoko. Their artistic production also has great similarities with that of the ...


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Masque League Lukwakongo
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African art > African mask > Masque League

Lega primitive sculptures in African art.
This mask, which was not intended to be worn, but manipulated during rituals, displays a circular, regular face, in which an ovoid forehead dominates the orbits dug in the heart. Coffee bean eyes, with half-closed eyelids, are hollowed out. There are streaks on the teeth on the ajar lips. A raffia beard is attached to the lower contours. Smooth satin patina, the center of which is encased with a kaolin crust. This African Lega mask indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society composed of different ranks, and which were joined by wives whose spouse had reached the third level, that of the ngandu . Within the Lega, the society of Bwami open to men and women, organized social and political life. There ...


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Kongo Yombe Cup with Pfemba pattern
African art > African Jar > Kongo Cup

Ex-collection Belgian African art.
This ritual container forms a prestigious object reserved for dignitaries. It is supported by a pfemba maternity figure, and its lid adorned with a male statuette, sculpted in round-bump. The cariatid, a figure of woman seated in a suit, named phemba or pfemba, symbol of the mythical ancestor, is probably associated with fertility cults. The child on his lap would embody the matrilineal transmission of power. The mouth reveals traditionally lined teeth, while the gaze emphasizes the ancestor's ability to discern occult things. Diamond scarifications cover the back of the character. These gashes, made with needles, knives and razors, were then coated with charcoal or ash to accelerate healing and form salient patterns. Golden light brown satin ...

Sculpture figurative Luba
African art > African Statues > Statues Luba

Naturalistic scene depicting a birth. The bust of the central figure bears the diamond scarifications that the Luba love. The headdresses were made up of braids organized around a metal structure. Female representations in Luba society are generally associated with royalty. As political and spiritual intermediaries in Luba royalty, sculpted effigies with protective purposes recall their central role. The multi-reading work also recalls their major importance in the transmission of life. Dark patina with burgundy highlights.

Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa. 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 the Songhoy ethnic group, under the leadership ...


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390.00

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

African fang rituals and masks. Soft wood, dry patina, granular kaolin residue. Height on a base: 28 cm.
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 male society ngil in northwestern Gabon, southern Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea.  This secret society was in charge of initiations and fought against witchcraft. The ngil was a purifying fire rite symbolized by the gorilla. The wearers of these masks, always in large numbers, appeared at night, lit by torches. Their intervention was also linked to the judicial function by identifying the culprits of the bad deeds within the village.  The Fang ethnic group, based in a region stretching from Yaounde in ...


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95.00

Masque Tetela / Yela
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African art > African mask > Masque Yela

Circular mask, convex, it is divided into two vegetable colors, one based on red bark, the second of white, crusty kaolin. The large strips dug on its surface could evoke the traditional scarifications of the clan.
The Tetela and Yela groups are of Mongo origin and are neighbouring. The Sculpture of the Tetela takes various forms, borrowed from the clans they co-operate, among them songye inspirations with polychrome works. Several ethnic groups divided into branches live closely intertwined in central Zaire: the Mbole, the Yela, the Lengola, and the Metoko, and have similar associations. This proximity has generated some stylistic borrowings. Their artistic production has great analogies with that of the Metoko and Lengola. Their divination masks were displayed at the closing ...


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Maternity figure Kongo Yombe Phemba
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African art > African Statues > Statue of Congo

Ex-collection Swiss African art.
The Solongo cultures of Angola and Yombé were largely influenced by the Kongo kingdom, from which they borrowed naturalistic statuary and religious laughs through carved fetishes nkondo nkisi.
This figure of woman, wearing a dignitary's headdress, symbol of the mythical ancestor presumably associated with fertility cults, surrounds himself with a group of miniatures represented in various positions. The two figures on his shoulders feature an abdominal cavity in which a magical charge, bilongo, or relics have been introduced. The woman is seated on a seat supported by caryatids, which a janiform dog, koso , mediator between the living and the dead, also supports. Diamond scarifications cover the character's back. These cuts, made using ...

Bamileke beaded statuette
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African art > African Statues > Statue Bamileke

Colors and chiefdoms in African art.
This male statuette of ancestor, stocky, was first carved in wood and then covered with a canvas of rabane encrusted with imported multicolored pearls, predominantly red. She wears a pointed cap on which a burlap has been applied. Hands are placed on her lower abdomen The physiognomy displays a distinctive expressiveness of African tribal art from the Grassland regions.
With the Bamiléké as in other ethnic groups, art objects attested to their owner's place in society. Thus, the materials and shapes of objects varied according to social status. King Bamiléké , also known as fon, guarantor of soil fertility and the protection of his subjects, was not considered mortal. As a result, his funeral was a joyous celebration, with the fon simply ...


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African art > African mask >

Rituals of justice and African masks Fang. Housed under the mass of the forehead, the concave face, stretched, extends from a narrow chin in galoche with a severe pout.

Bois soft, locally abraded grainy dry patina.
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 male society ngil in northwestern Gabon, southern Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea.  This secret society was in charge of initiations and fought against witchcraft. The ngil was a purifying fire rite symbolized by the gorilla. The wearers of these masks, always in large numbers, appeared at night, lit by torches. Their intervention was also linked to the judicial function by identifying the ...


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Cavalier Sao Sokoto Putchu Guinadji
African art > African Rider > Bronze Sao

This bronze has a copper patina. The warrior depicted on his mount has his head wrapped in a choir identical to those of the Tuareg.

In African art, The Works of Sao Sokoto Inspiration are mostly imprinted with the equestrian world. Within the ethnic group, small specimens of riders usually in bronze are melted and worn like talismans, patinated and lustrous by friction. They are seen above all as a remedy to fight possession by evil spirits. The horse represents the spirit of the person who is possessed, while the genius who possesses it is symbolized by the rider. Subjected to the successive onslaughts of their neighbours in Kanem and then to hordes from the east, the Sao had to abandon their lands to settle in northwestern Cameroon where they mixed with the natives giving ...

Maternity Kongo Yombe Pfemba
African art > African Maternity > Statue Phemba

Sculpture Kongo realistic type, named Phemba or Pfemba, she embodies the ancestor of the clan, female figure mediator. Children would embody the matrilineal transmission of power. Scarifications dot his bust. The Yombe adorned their textiles, mats and loincloths, with diamonds in relation to proverbs glorifying work and social unity. The mouth reveals traditionally lined teeth, the gaze evokes the ability of the ancestor to discern occult things. Smooth black skate with grenats.br/>Clan reflections of the Kongo group, the Yombe established on the west coast of Africa, in the south-west of the Republic of Congo and in Angola. Their statuary includes remarkable maternity. The use of this type of sculpture remains unknown.
Shach the Kongo, nganga was in charge of the rituals by ...


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390.00

Teke Buti fetish statuette
African art > African Statues > Teke Fetish

Figure with singular morphology, beautiful decorative object devoid of arms and endowed with a bust in ringed barrel. It is carried by thick legs with damaged feet. These fetishes were usually always ritually loaded with magical elements, which is not the case here. Satin black brown patina.
Andeblis between the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon, the Teké were organized into chiefdoms whose leader was often chosen from among the blacksmiths. The head of the family, mfumu , had the right to life or death over his family whose importance determined his prestige. The leader of the clan, ngantsié, kept the great protective fetish tar mantsié who oversaw all the ceremonies. It was the mighty sorcerer and soothsayer who charged magical elements, for payment, ...


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180.00

Chokwe Cihongo Mask
African art > African mask > Tschokwe Mask

br>In the many African masks akishi (sing: mukishi, indicating power) of African tribal art Chokwe, the powerful male counterpart of the Mwana Pwo mask is the cihongo . These masks are danced by itinerant professionals. 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 dancers of royal blood, this mask embodying a spirit symbolizes power and wealth. He also intervened, at times, on occasion judgments. Dark patina maten, abrasions and cracks of desication.
The masks of the Chokwe, Luda, Luvale/Lwena, Luchazi and Mbunda clans are named in Zambia as 'makishi' (sing. ...


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350.00

Female figure Baoule Waka sona
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African art > African Statues > Statue Baule

Often named 'colon' but sometimes embodying a type of 'ideal spouse' according to individual criteria () African Art Western Eyes, Baule, Vogel, p.253 to 257), this female figure sports a hooded helmet and skirt. The sculpted figure, however, has traditional ethnic characteristics: scarifications in use and hairstyle gathered in shells. Slight desication cracks. Smooth polychrome patina.
Two types of statues are produced by the baoulé in the ritual setting:The Waka-Sona statues, being of wood in baoulé, evoke a assed oussou, being from the earth. They are part of a type of statues intended to be used as a medium tool by the soothsayers komian, the latter being selected by the spirits asye usu in order to communicate the revelations of the afterlife. The second type of statues, made ...

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

This African mask whose volumes helped inspire the Cubist artistic movement is streaked with lines coated with white pigment. The ridge of the nose under which nostrils were pierced continues in high sagittal crest. The eyelids and mouth like a beak form salient volumes. Mate patina, abrasions, slight misses.
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 are related through common ancestors. ...


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390.00

Douala Nyatti polychrome mask
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African art > African mask > Douala Mask

Plank mask, very graphic, topped with hoop horns. It is a stylized, narrow face of bovid (nyatti), flanked by two fins indicating ears. The room is embellished with geometric patterns of contrasting colors. A metal blade showing the tongue extends the whole. Patina abraded.
Sculpated by the sculptors of Douala in the Bay of Cameroon, this type of zoomorphic mask were produced for the initiates of the society ekongolo, always active, in order to honor ancestors during ritual ceremonies, and wore like a helmet. This mask was also responsible, according to explorer Zintgraff, for hunting the uninitiated, which was also the role of grassland's Oku masks. The Douala, living at the mouth of the Wuri River, organized regattas where carved works, painted in bright colours, depicting ...





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