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African art items:


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.

Ci Wara Bambara Crest Mask
African art > African mask > Ci Wara Crest

In African art, the Bambara have so-called hippotragues or large stylized antelope masks.
This stylized piece, a combination of two superimposed zoomorphic figures, it was to be placed on a basket on the head of the parade, it is a mask called crest, the Ci Wara or "fauve of the earth", emblem of the ton, associations intended for agricultural work.
The associations ton, fraternity of age, bring together young people (boys and girls) of the same age class. Associations for social purposes, they helped the poorest to work in the fields. On the occasion of this work, a couple of masked dancers, the Tyiwara "fauves of culture", accompanied by a buffoon mask, performed.
One ear is partly missing behind the horns. Slight cracks, abrasions.


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150.00

Okuyi Dance Lumbu Mask
African art > African mask > Lumbu Mask

Within the group called Shira , the Lumbu Loumbu, Balumbu, of Bantu origin and from the Congo Kingdom, have settled on the coastal part of Gabon, and in the Republic of Congo, in the Middle Ogooue. They keep the bones of their ancestors in reliquary baskets decorated with statuettes and other prestigious objects. This rare mask with a kaolin-bleached face, evoking a deceased woman, was manifested during the Okuyi dance and the cults dedicated to ancestors, ritual practices they shared with the Punu. The cheekbones are high in an ovoid face devoid of scarifications, the arched eyelids half-closed, the nose narrow, the mouth smiling, and the chin pointed. The presence of horns, one of which is damaged, is probably associated with a bush spirit. Among the Lumbu, boyo is a local equivalent of ...


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390.00

Reliquary figure Lumbu, Loumbo, Mbumba
African art > African Statues > Statue Lumbu

Within the group called Shira , the Lumbu Loumbu, Balumbu, of Bantu origin and from the Congo Kingdom, have settled on the coastal part of Gabon, and in the Republic of Congo, in the Middle Ogooue. They keep the bones of their ancestors in reliquary baskets decorated with statuettes and other prestigious objects. This cephalomorphic sculpture featuring a kaolin-bleached face, evoking a deceased woman, was also brandished at Bwiti ceremonies, a cult also shared by neighbouring Tsogho. The cheekbones are high, the eyelids are incised, and the chin is pointed. Behind a headband, the hair is separated on either side of a stripe in thick braids joining in the neck. Among the many hair constructions of these Clans of Gabon, the hairstyle Kodia represents the spiral shell of a snail. This ...

Reliquary figure Kota
objet vendu
African art > African Reliquary > Figure Kota

The cult of ancestors, the bwete (Northern Kota) was at the heart of the social and religious life of the Kota and has many analogies with that of the Fang. In the exclusive presence of insiders, the clan's major decisions were made during ceremonies during which the reliquaries were taken out and used. In order to reactivate the magic charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand. In the Kota, these figures have reached a degree of stylization and amazing abstraction: reduced to the shoulders and to the "Bras" topped by a large face, the latter can be concave (female) or convex (male).


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Reliquary figure Kota
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African art > African Reliquary > Figure Kota

The cult of ancestors, the bwete (Northern Kota) was at the heart of the social and religious life of the Kota and has many analogies with that of the Fang. In the exclusive presence of insiders, the clan's major decisions were made during ceremonies during which the reliquaries were taken out and used. In order to reactivate the magic charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand. In the Kota, these figures have reached a degree of stylization and amazing abstraction: reduced to the shoulders and to the "Bras" topped by a large face, the latter can be concave (female) or convex (male).


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Luluwa Mask
objet vendu
African art > African mask > Luluwa Mask

Ex-Swiss African art collection.
This African face mask with a large frontal crest incorporates the features of traditional statuary, as well as curvilinear motifs associated with ethnic scarifications. It has a handle that was to make it easier to use. Kaolin inlays remain on the surface. Abrasions of the matte patina. 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 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 ...


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Luba Kifwebe Mask
African art > African mask > Luba Mask

Ex-collection Belgian African art.
This mask, which had similarities to the Songye masks, did not have the same function. This category of rather rare African masks are named "bifwebe". They appeared at funerals and investitures. He performed during the ritual ceremonies of the kazanzi society, which was responsible for combating witchcraft. "Bifwebe" (Sing.: kifwebe) would mean, according to C. Faïk-Nzuji, "chasing the death". Worn with a voluminous raphia collar that concealed the dancer, this mask was usually danced in the company of a zoomorphic mask. In the Luba, white is synonymous with the relationship with the spiritual world, by evoking the moon evoked by the circular form of the object. Half-closed globular eyelids are hollowed out, as are nostrils and a quadrangle mouth. ...


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350.00

Headquarters Tanzania Mbugu or Nyamwezi
African art > African Chair > Tanzania Headquarters

Attesting to the social origin of its owner, the African chair is a personal piece of furniture designed to enhance its prestige. It is therefore often decorated in its middle part with anthropomorphic or zoomorphic figures in relation to the founding myths and beliefs of the ethnic group. A monoxyle sculpture whose anthropomorphic foot resting on a cylindrical base depicts a young woman, mythical ancestor, with arms bent parallel to the bust, pupils encrusted with hollowed beads, the upper lip as if distended by a labret. She wears a finely engraved copper torque. The seat is highlighted on its outline by a double frieze of diamonds carved into the wood and its surface encrusted with brass shards forming harmonious decorative motifs. In the southern region of Tanzania's coastline, around ...

Statue Zande, Azandé
African art > African Statues > Statue Zande

African tribal art counts two types of Azande statues:
The Kudu statues, between 30 and 50 cm high represent ancestors, and Yanda statues, 10 to 20 cm, of animal or human form, having an apotropaic role, exhibited during the divinatory rites during the rituals of the mani
Very stylized anthropomorphic figure, arms arched on either side of the bust, legs spread apart, legs broaded sideways. The body is regularly punctuated with holes. The geometric head on which the slanted eyes are engraved also gives a supernatural aspect to this sculpture. A magic charge is probably inserted at the top of the head, blocked by a resin.
Oily Dark Patina, Fissures.br-Formerly referred to as " Niam-Niam " because they are considered anthropophages, the tribes grouped under the name zande , ...


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250.00

Masque Bembe
objet vendu
African art > African mask > Masque Bembe

Two large concave orbits, where incised globular eyelids allow vision, occupy the upper part of this African Bembe mask. The frightened owl would have inspired these zoomorphic characters. A small conical mouth protrudes. These masks accompanied the rituals of passage during the circumcision ceremonies of the Bwami.
Patine satin calire. Kaolin residue.
The Bembe ethnic group is a Luba branch that is said to have left Congo in the 18th century and settled 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 the initiation and structuring for society but while the Bwami was exclusive to the ...


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Mask Muhunzu Pové, Vuvi
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African art > African mask > Tsogho Mask

Support of a sacred power, the mask Pové, among the very large diversity of masks Okandé, Membé , of the tribes of central Gabon, adopts a volume of shallow, almost flat. Reminiscent of the masks Tsogho , it is also clad in juxtaposed colors that divide features raised with black. Sculpted by an initiate on the eve of ritual ceremonies, this mask embodies the mythical ancestor of the tribe. Currently, it manifests itself in mourning personalities or to exercise a form of justice. Established in the Ogooué basin, the Membé-speaking Okandé group, a neighbour of the Punu , Pounou, is composed of the Tsogho, Pové (Vuvi), Okandé, Evea, and Apindji ethnic groups. These ethnic groups practice the cult of Mwiri, a male initiation society.
Source: "Masks of Gabon", ed. Wakes.


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Couple primordial Dogon
African art > African Statues > Couple Dogon

These figures represented in an attitude of contrition embody the primordial couple Nommos at the origin of the creation among the Dogon of Mali. The graceful bodies are frozen with arms outstretched along the bust and legs at the knees, parallel.
Grey green patina, rust inlays. The leg of a statue is embossed at the knee.
The Dogons are a people renowned for their cosmogony, esotericism, myths and legends. Their population is estimated at about 300,000 souls living southwest of the Niger Loop in the Mopti region of Mali (Bandiagara, Koro, Banka), near Douentza and part of northern Burkina (northwest of Ouahigouya). Villages are often perched atop the scree at the edge of the hills, according to a unique architecture. The history of migration and the facilities of the Dogon ...


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480.00

Couple of twins Ibedji Yoruba
African art > African Statues > Ibedji Yoruba

Here, the "abiku", adornments with a protective purpose, can be found here in each of the characters carved into coloured pearl necklaces, cauris chains, and metal bells. These statuette-dolls "ere" (statues), evoking twins, feature a hairstyle formed of braids gathered in a sagittal crest.
Satric glossy surface.
In the language of the Yoruba people, ibeji means twin: ibi for born and eji for two. They represent the figure of a deceased twin. This ibedji is then treated as the missing child would have been. It is the mother who must take care of him; she can wash and feed him regularly. If she dies, the remaining twin takes over. A man sometimes had ibeji for his wife to sculpt in order to arouse pregnancy. Supporting the soul of the twin, the ibeji influences the life of the ...


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300.00

Ejagham Crest Mask
objet vendu
African art > African mask > Ejagham Crest Mask

Ex English African art collection.
This African mask was estimated to be auctioned at 750 euros.
From a conical base in braided basketry rises a wooden head sheathed with animal skin, antelope generally, ideal for feminine beauty in the Ejagham. This extravagant hairstyle consisting of four growths in volutes, also lined with leather, would represent the hair extensions of the girls at the end of their period of initiation. The hollowed-out mouth has teeth. The whole thing was oil-slaped, velbling the brown patina. Stretched eyelids open onto bleached globes. 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 ...


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Markha Mask, Maraka
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African art > African mask > Markha Mask

African mask with a matte patina abraded, plated with sheets of oxidized metal. A long, narrow, emaciated face supported by a ringed neck rises from the back of a spherical base. Bringing together animal details, antelope, and humans, this African mask recalls ci Wara crests. The head is topped by a high, flattened horn, similar to a headdress. Horizontal ears, tapered, are equipped with buckle and beaded buckles and cotton stamps, absent on the second ear. Cracks in desications.
The Markha are organized into societies of structured masks and hierarchical as found in many other ethnic groups. They have an initiation language, a means of communication in the hands of the initiates. The Markha , also known as Warka, live in the northern bambara territory and have, therefore, been ...


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Statuette Bambara Nyeleni
African art > African Statues > Statuette Nyeleni

Sculpture named "little favorite", Nyeleni in Bambara, represented frontally, palms forward, breasts in "obus" on a narrow bust widening towards a wide prominent buttocks. The half-flexed legs are proportionally reduced. The face is covered with a streaked crest whose side mats frame the ears of the "en horseshoe. The piece, streaked with notches and parallel grooves, features a light brown matte patina with powdery beige ocré inlays.
Desication cracks. The Bambara of central and southern Mali belong to the large Mande group, such as the Soninke and Malinke. They believe in the existence of a creator god generically called Ngala who maintains the order of the universe. His existence coexists with another androgynous god called Faro, who gave all the qualities to men and who grows ...


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380.00

Statue ritual Congo Yombe
African art > African Statues > Statue of Congo

The Vili, Lri, Sûndi, Woyo, Bembé, Bwende, Yombé and Kôngo were the group Kôngo , led by King ntotela. Their kingdom reached its apogee in the 16th century with the ivory, copper and slave trade. Similarly beliefs and traditions, they produced a statuary with a codified gesture in relation to their worldview. The Yombe se are established on the west coast of Africa, in the southwestern Republic of Congo and in Angola. The sorcerers nganga, both healers, were in charge of religious activities and mediation with the God called Nzambi through consecrated figures. Aggressive witchcraft kindoki is the absolute evil that must be fought. To this end, nkisis protective figures are made and loaded by the nganga of all the ingredients necessary to achieve this goal.
This realistic sculpture, ...


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370.00

Ancestor statue Baule Asia usu
African art > African Statues > Statue Baoulé

The Akan cults in African art
This "Waka -Sona", ", wood-to-baouu", set on stocky, muscular legs suitable for agricultural work, grabs his beard as oil anointings stiffened. The high summit ridge that composes his hairstyle meets in three shells ending in braids. Many traditional checkerboard scarifications roam his body. A hand with de-measured fingers rests in the umbilical region. This gesture of life evokes the parentage on which he exercises his protection. Light wood, irregular satin surface.
Two types of statues Waka- Sona are produced by the baoulé in the ritual framework: those that evoke a 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 soothsayers komian, the latter being selected by the asye usu ...


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380.00

Fang reliquary figure
African art > African Statues > Statue Fang

This anthropomorphic sculpture of atypical proportions, emanating from the Ntumu regions between Gabon, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea, displays a pout inscribed in a prognathic jaw, a broad forehead and a hairstyle pulled towards the neck. A pierced umbilical, like sex, springs from the abdomen. The oiled patina, black, makes a light wood appear locally. Altered feet. Abrasions and shards of wood.
At the Fang of Cameroon and Gabon, each family has a "Byeri", or reliquary box, in which the bones of illustrious ancestors are preserved. These boxes were guarded by the oldest man in the village, the "esa". The reliquary boxes were surmounted by a statue or a head that acted as guardian of the boxes "byi", named as the cult to which they resemble. These were kept in a dark corner of the ...


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480.00

Ewe fetish statuette
African art > African fetish > Ewe Fetish

African art and tribal cult vodun of the ewe and fon
Affubé populations of various amulets in the form of jewelry, horns filled with substances mixed with red clay, metal accessories, dried seeds, and reptile skin belt, this realistic statuette was ritually coating with a thick powder coating peeling locally. The pupils are made up of red beads, and one of the feet is altered. Desication cracks, furrows.
In Togo, African fetishes are part of beneficial or evil rituals according to the intentions of their owner. The fetishists, following the divination ritual of the fa using palm nuts, make them to order to offer protective and medicinal virtues but also offer more conventional ready-to-use versions.
These practices are still in use today are sometimes decried and ...


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280.00

Yoruba Gelede Mask
objet vendu
African art > African mask > Yoruba Gelede Mask

Amont the Yoruba, masks are conceived on a same principle : a human face helmet mask, and a scene over the top of the mask. They are worn during rites ceremonies relative to maternity.


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