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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.

Kuba Royal Drinking Cup
African art > Usual african items > Coupe Cuba

This prestigious cephalomorphic cut features a face flanked by two side horns reminiscent of the ancient hairstyle of Kuba warriors who have been sporting by the chiefs ever since. Its intricate ornamentation was strictly reserved for objects associated with bushoong royalty. The cut is meticulously engraved with geometric patterns similar to the traditional body scarifications and embroidered drawings of raffia textiles produced by the ethnic group. The face with angular features evokes an forefather in meditation. The Kuba are renowned for the refinement of prestige objects created for members of the high ranks of their society. The Lee live to the west of the Kuba kingdom and share common cultural characteristics with the Bushoongs of the Kuba country. Several Kuba groups produced ...


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340.00

Statuette Metoko
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African art > African Statues > statue Metoko

This tribal statuette with digitized feet and hands is streaked with parallel grooves representing the Keloid scars, also associated with the character's status, a worthy old man having been a victim of witchcraft, kakungu. The exorbitant pupils give it a disoriented look. An ochre frost was rubbed in the hollow of the furrows giving a warm patina to the sculpture.
Katungu cult statue belonging to the Metoko and Lengola, peoples of the primary forest dedicated to the worship of a single God, rare monotheism in Africa. Their company, Bukota, welcoming both men and women, is the equivalent of the association Bwami of Lega. The sculptures played a role during the initiation ceremonies, and were then placed on the grave of the high-ranking initiates. Each of these figures had a name, ...


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Songye Kifwebe Kilume Mask
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African art > African mask > Sognye Mask

This African mask whose volumes inspired the Cubist artistic movement is engraved with parallel stripes with white pigment. The ridge of the nose under which nostrils were pierced continues in a crest on the top of the head. The globular eyelids extend from grooves to the temples. A parallelepiped mouth advances, forming like a whisper calling for the silence of the initiates. A raffia collar is attached to the rim holes. Satin patina.
Three types of Kifwebe African art mask are listed: the masculine (kilume) usually with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) would present a more modest or absent crest, and finally the greatest 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 ...


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Mask Pende Mbangu
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African art > African mask > Pendé Mask

Unlike many other pieces of African art, the asymmetry of this African mask here is deliberately exaggerated. Indeed, the Mask of Pende Mbangu disease illustrates, by their distorted features, the patient in epileptic crisis or the result of facial paralysis caused by witchcraft rituals. In many tribal cultures, however, epilepsy would be seen as a divine seal on an individual capable of communicating in this way with the spiritual world. The dancer who wears this comedy mask is wearing a feathered hat gifuatu guinea fowl, coucal or touraco, or lumbandu, a crown of leaves. It is also often fitted with a bump on the back, exaggerating the handicapped appearance of the character. On this two-tone piece, a canvas that functions as a headdress, partially consolidated by a wicker frame, is ...


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Tshibinda Ilunga Chokwé Crest
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African art > African mask > Tshibinda Ilunga Chokwé Crest

Former Belgian private collection of African art Jan Putteneers.

This crest mask has the particularity of being topped with a fetish statuette in the effigy of Tshibinda Ilunga, founder of the Chokwé.
Here he is found sitting in a suit, arms bent, hands close to the body. The pitched back and raised chin indicate a proud and dominant attitude. Its very special headdress with two side parts and a curved penne towards the back makes it easy to recognize.
The crest itself is covered with a layer of reddish animal skin and sprinkled with encrusted seeds. There are punctures on the edge to attach it to the dancer's head.

Peacefully settled in eastern Angola until the 16th century, the Chokwé were then subjected to the Lunda empire from which they inherited a ...

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Masque facial Grebo Kru
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African art > African mask > Kru Mask

The African art of the shores of the Cavally and its fantastic masks
Colorful expressionism for this version of the Kru mask combining cylindrical and cubic volumes. The flat surface is animated by tubular growths evoking extra lucid faculties, a nasal ridge and a quadrangular mouth, plated with aluminum leaves, overlapping. At the top, short horns frame feathers inserted into the wood giving the illusion of a spiky hairstyle. The mask extends into its inferentious part of a thick beard made of wool fibers. Metal rings, fixed on the contours, accompanied with their sound the movements of the dancer by clicking on the surface of the wood. Abraded speckled matte patina.
The Kru are divided into twenty-four subgroups, including the Grebo, based in southern Liberia and southwestern ...


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Bembe Alunga mask
African art > African mask > Bembe mask

This imposing hem mask is carved from four concave orbits with an elliptical diamond representing the cardinal points. Various side perforations have been fitted for the dancer's vision. A feather adornment accessorized it at the top. The circular base is also punctured in order to attach the papyrus or raffia adornment to conceal the dancer. This African mask Ibulu lya 'alunga (head of the alunga) was used during the tribal ritual of the male society Alunga , exercising social control over the clan, and responsible for public dances and ceremonies before the hunt. A vocation of a spirit of the forest, this tribal mask was preserved in the sacred caves and it was during the feasts associated with hunting and the cults of ancestors that it was exhibited. Flat masks with the same concave ...


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490.00

Dogon Box Door
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African art > Door shutter > Dogon Box Door

African art has everyday objects of great finesse such as dogon doors rich in detail.

The motifs are inspired by the dogon cosmogony.
In the upper part, there are Kanaga dancers as well as the primordial couple while the bottom is adeped with Nommos and various animals, especially batracians and reptiles.

Like many other African peoples, the Dogons are very creative, and like to be surrounded by art.
Craftsmen make objects for everyday use. Dogon doors are good examples of their talent. They contain elements characteristic of the Dogon cosmogon, according to which the first inhabitants of the Bandiagara area crossed the river on the back of a crocodile. The motifs on the doors in Mali are intended to deter the intruder, whether human or animal, from ...


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Monnaie Croisette Handa du Katanga
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African art > African Currencies > Katanga Currency

The first coins Handa , also named Lukanu, or copper crucifixes, Croisettes of Katanga, or cross of Saint Andrew , appear in the 13th century in tombs throughout the Shaba region, at the same time as the cainis and p glass paste, also used as a means of payment. Although associated with funeral rituals, during the 18th and 19th centuries, they were the tax that copper-producing regions owed to the Lunda Empire, a territory covering Katanga, northern Zambia and eastern Angola. Arab merchants also used it in trade routes stretching from Kenya to eastern Angola. Hungarian ethnologist Torday found that 3 to 5 of these crucifixes ranging from 0.275 to 2 kg were needed to acquire a male slave and 5 to 10 for a woman. They were used until the 1920s when they were used to obtain poultry, fabrics, ...

Yaka Mukoku ngombu slot drum
African art > Djembe TamTam > Yaka Drum

The Yaka surround each other in everyday life with charms embellished with carved cephalomorphic figures, such as this Yaka slit drum, mukoku ngombu, nkoku ngombu , intended for divination and healing rituals. The head, which would appear the mediating soothsayer wearing a high cap, has coffee bean eyes deeply surrounded. The neck is surrounded by plant fiber ties that attach it to the stick. Beautiful patina of lustrous and sainized-at the Yaka, at the new moon, the soothsayer ngaanga ngoombu covers his face with kaolin before emitting an oracle. During its daytime passage into the basement, the moon is coated with this white clay. The night would convey the virtues of life. The Mukoku Nogombu is the miniature version of the large slit drums mondo and accompanies ritual songs. ...


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490.00

Fang wooden box
African art > Usual african items > Fang Box



This container has a lid topped with three stylized faces reminiscent of the guardian heads of the byeri reliquary. Three fang figures with protective virtues, arms bent, hands clasped, adorn the walls of the box. Since the reliquary boxes contain the bones of the ancestors are most often made up of bark, this wooden sculpture could also have been used as a medicine container or a box dedicated to divination. The internal walls are lined with residues of yellow ochre vegetable oil.
Geometric patterns and parallel lines are engraved on the matte surface. Desication cracks. Indigenous restorations using metal staples.
The peoples known as Fang, or "Pahouins", described as conquering warriors, invaded in successive leaps, from villages to villages, the entire vast ...


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400.00

Bronze Dogon Rider
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African art > African bronze > Statue Dogon

The elegance of proportions and attitudes, in this sculpture of African art, has been translated with talent by the dogon blacksmith. The latter form an endogamous caste among the Dogon called irim . They now produce weapons, tools, and also work wood. They are also supposed to treat burns (Huib Blom). The frequent representations of a rider, among the Dogon of Mali, refer to their cosmogony and their complex religious myths. Indeed, one of the Nommos, ancestors of men, resurrected by the creator god Amma , descended on the earth carried by an arch transformed into a horse. Moreover, the highest authority of the Dogon people, the religious leader named Hogon , was parading on his mount at his induction because, according to custom, he was not to set foot on the ground. In the area of the ...


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Baule Mask / Yaoure Lomane
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African art > African mask > Baoulé Mask

This African mask from the I features a hair meticulously engraved with decorative motifs. Horns rise sideways, encircling bird figures. The subtle shape of the face, the smooth and sainy patina, reveal the talent of the sculptors of African tribal art of Côte d'Ivoire. This copy named Anoman , Lomane , (bird) is part of the fourth of the seven masks I who originally danced around the deceased and leaned to touch him for a purifying purpose. It also appears at present during rejoicing. Heterogeneous patina in a range of browns. The Yaouré are a subgroup of the Akan people present in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. Geographically close to the Baoulé and the Gouros, one can feel in the art yaouré the influence of these ethnic groups through the attention to detail and aesthetics. The African ...


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Masque Kuba / Biombo
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African art > African mask > Masque Cuba

The Kuba kingdom was founded in the 16th century by the Bushoong which are still ruled by a king today. It is the most prolific group in Western Kasai. In the south of the Kuba country, at the confluence of the Kasai and Lulua rivers, live the Biombo , whose traditional masked ceremonies have similarities to those of their neighbors. More than twenty types of tribal masks are used in the Kuba or " lightning people", with meanings and functions that vary from group to group. Ritual ceremonies remained an opportunity to display decorative arts and masks to honour the spirit of the deceased or to honour the king. Most of these masks embody the spirits of nature, guarantors of fertility and fertility, named the ngesh . Housed under deep eyebrow arches in the heart delimiting the prominent ...


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Fetish Boli Bambara
African art > African fetish > Statue Boli

Zoomorphic fetish with four legs and a head with a thick muffle and a horn-like growth. The smooth, clear clay surface is locally cracked.
Called boli (pl. boliw), buffle , in African art, this fetish of varying size plays a central role in the ritual life of the Mandingo region. There are pocket-sized "Boliw", and others owned by chiefdoms, initiation societies such as the men's initiation associations Kono and Komo whose members progress through a process spanning decades, and even at Etats.La main function of a boli is to accumulate and control the natural life force called nyama for the spiritual benefit of the community. Used as altars or performed during dance performances, they are creations based on revelations miraculously granted to the geniuses of the bush and transmitted ...


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490.00

Ligbi Mask
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African art > African mask > Ligbi Mask

Established in Côte d'Ivoire, but also in Ghana, the Islamized Ligbi have, however, been influenced by the Senoufo tribal sculpture, using elements they have incorporated into African masks linked to the do.

This masked tradition has been preserved to manifest itself during religious festivals accompanied by sacrifices and songs such as the end of Ramadan, symbolizing in this way the breaking of the fast. Just before the festivities, if necessary, the mask will be repainted and thus coated with koro, composed of burnt foliage whose ashes are mixed with palm oil. Red, white clay, henna, and a kola nut powder will highlight scarification when present, facial features and hairstyle. Graceful ovoid shape for this mask where we note the absence of nose. Horns return in a hoop ...


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Gbene Koro double-cut statuette
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African art > African Statues > Statue Koro

Anthropomorphic sculpture composed of two figures of ancestors depicted back to back. Their abdomen, in which the umbilical is indicated by two cauris covered with a resinous layer, forms a cup intended to contain beer or palm wine during ritual ceremonies. Details such as scarifications on the face, brass nails for prunes, digitized feet and hands, geometric incisions on the bust, and coiled ropes embellish the statuette. Satin brown patina, use of red pigments, resinous aggregates.
According to some authors, two people drank there at the same time. (Arts of Nigeria, A. Lebas) It is in the northern part of the interior of Nigeria that the Koro , alongside Waja, Mama, Hausa, and Dakakari, settled. Especially known for their masks adorned with red seeds of abrus embodying the ...

Bamileke Beaded Statue
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African art > African Statues > Bamileke figure

Colours and chieftaincy in African art.
The Bamiléké, a sub-group of a larger population also made up of Bamoun and Tikar, are famous for their sculptures of African art covered with pearls, signs of prosperity and wealth, Giving the royal object the shine that distinguishes it from common objects. This female statuette of ancestor, thick, was first carved in wood and then covered with a canvas of Rabane inlaid with imported multicolored pearls, predominantly blue and red. She wears a crown-shaped headdress ending in the neck. The hands are placed on her lower abdomen in a gesture associated with fertility. The physiognomy displays a distinctive expressiveness of the African tribal art of the Grassland regions.
In the Bamiléké as in other ethnic groups, the objects of art ...


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Bambara antelope face mask
African art > African mask > Masque Bamana

Two ringed horns stand parallel at the top of this Bamana mask, Bambara, extended by a long nose and an oblong snout. Parallel hatches are incised on the surface of the wood, evoking the scarifications in use. Dark skate, mate. Piece collected by the painter 'a href'"http://wiki.ibb.town/Karl-Heinz-Engstfeld"- Karl Heinz Engstfeld and 'a href-U'0022https://evibb.de/home/wir-trauern-um-ruth-engstfeld-schremper/"'Ruth Schgst , a gandher artist. Established in central and southern Mali, in a savannah area, the Bambara ," Bamana " or " unbelievers ", as the Muslims have named them, belong to the great Mande group, along with the Soninke and Malinke. Mainly farmers, but also herders, they make up the largest ethnic group in Mali. Animists, they believe in the existence of a creator god ...


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250.00

Janiform reliquary Ambete Mask
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African art > African mask > Janiform reliquary Ambete Mask

The reliquaries in African art

A hollow cylindrical volume, with quadrangular perforations for the eyes and the mouth, forms the bust of a character whose head rises at the top The arms of the character are plated on the volume inferiorly, with several vertical crests, the absence of eyes under the black eyebrows joined, the teeth represented by metal blades, confer a threatening severity. The solemnity was further strengthened by the sound of the curls of metal ears clashing with each movement.The headdress with multiple ridges would come from the Mbété of the western region of Congo.The lower base is lined with a raffia mat that also accompanies a thick canvas of plant fibers.The polychrome is well preserved, particularly crusty in areas coated with kaolin.It is on the ...

Crest Sogoni koun Bamana
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African art > African mask > Crest Sogoni koun Bamana

Ex-Collection of French African Art

A non-stylized variant of Ci Wara, this zoomorphic crest made of heavy wood is made up of a small antelope on which a bird is perched.The sculptor favored the naïve aspect by endowing these animal figures with The plumage of the bird is evoked by the checkered slits and alternating parallel lines, while a regular dorsal notching shows the mane of the antelope velvety matt brown patina. skull and held in place by a kind of small basket, these tyiwara crests accompanied the dancers during the rituals of the tòn, an association dedicated to agricultural work.The masks roamed the field leaping to chase away from it the nyama, evil waves , and detect any danger or flush out the evil geniuses that may delight the soul of cultivated plants or the ...


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