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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.

Pearl head in terracotta
African art > African Terracotta > Beaded head

Made in the Cameroonian Grasslands using the traditional decorative technique using multicolored glass beads, this head reproduces the famous effigies of sovereigns. Meticulously applied to a terracotta surface, the beads accentuate the features and the royal headdress with strongly contrasting colours, while padouk powder lifts the inside of the ears and mouth.
In African art, the artistic current of which these sculptures are part is named after the ancient religious capital of Nigeria, Ifè, one of the many city-states established by the Yoruba.This civilization succeeded the Nok civilization. This city-state of Ilé-Ifé, whose rise culminated from the 12th to the 15th century, had an artistic tradition of royal portraits imbued with realism, funerary effigies in bronze but also in ...

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Dogon Mask
African art > African mask > Dogon Mask

Ultra minimalist, this mask is reduced to a curved volume pierced with triangles for the eyes. The nose, extended to the top of a protrusion akin to an animal head, forms the only relief. Raw patina, eroded surface.
The dogon people renowned in African art for myths and beliefs related to its cosmogony.
Sa population is estimated at about 300,000 souls living southwest of the Niger Loop in mali's Mopti region (Bandiagara, Koro, Banka), near Douentza and part of northern Burkina (northwest of Ouahigouya). They produce more than 80 types of masks, the best known of which are the Kanaga, Sirigé, Satimbé, Walu. Most of them are used by the circumcised initiates of the Wa society during funeral ceremonies. Some represent animals, in reference to the rich mythology of African dogon ...

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Osé Sango Yoruba Scepter
objet vendu
African art > Usual african items > Osé Sango Yoruba Scepter

Ex-collection of Italian-African art

- Figure of adept of the god Sango, carried with the left hand during the ritual dances, it is topped with the double ax representing the axes of stone that the god would precipitate on the ground during the storms. The physiognomy is characteristic of Yoruba art, distinguished by the large almond-shaped eyes and the scarification of the cheeks, which represent, through their headdress, the god of thunder and youth Shango, or Sango. The mythical ancestor of the kings of Oyo, he was also the protector of the twins, whose occurrence was very frequent in the region. The Yoruba society is very organized and has several associations whose roles vary. The men's society egbe strengthens the social norms, the aro federates the farmers. The freeze ...

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Fetish Fon
objet vendu
African art > African fetish > Fetish Fon

This sculpture depicting a man kneeling in front of a gourd is lined with ropes and textile ribbons, the eyes are encrusted with curedness like the hairstyle, all coated with sacrificial materials. The arms consist of sheep horns and chains symbolically bind the character's mouth. Crusty matte patina.
The multitude of fon gods (the vodun), similar to those of the Yoruba under different names, is represented by fetishes of all shapes and natures. Their sanctuaries can be found in Togo, Dahomey, and western Nigeria. Statuettes embodying the legba protectors of the home, are often attached to them. The faithful administer daily offerings and libations to them, supposed to activate their power. The Fon se are currently in a part of the republic of Benin which is called the realm of ...

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Kusu bust figure
objet vendu
African art > African Statues > Statue Kusu

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.In this region, between the Bembe, Boyo, Hemba, Songye and Tetela, ritual objects have been subjected to exchanges and stylistic influences. The narrowness of the bust is mainly noted on the figures of ancestors to free the space of the arms among the major characteristics. The statues singiti were kept by the fumu mwalo and honoured during ceremonies during which sacrifices were offered to ...

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Bura funerary urn
African art > African Jar > Bura funerary urn

Remarkable, African Bura art includes three types of archaeological sites in the Niger Valley: sites with necropolises where coffin jars, funerary urns, etc ... Sites with ritual vocations where ceremonies were happening and the religious rites. The habitation sites where we find the usual objects. Herisse in his height of vertical lines composed of small circular reliefs, this conical receptacle was placed in the tomb of the deceased among personal effects like his weapons and clothing that he might need in the afterlife, among his bones and teeth. The piece has the same patterns placed horizontally around the perimeter of its lower base.

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

Ex-collection Belgian African art.
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. This mask with a protruding forehead would come from the Luluwa tribes. One of the hook side appendages has a break in the jaw. Lacks, minimal bursts and patina abrasions.

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Gbene figurative cup, Koro
objet vendu
African art > _1 > Statue Koro

World African tribal art, whose abdomen displays a double cup used to drink and pour libations of beer or palm wine, during ritual sacrifices. Built on the same structure: an effigy of a standing ancestor, in this case supporting the cup of his two hands. The bent legs are spread. Erosions of use, patina particularly glossy and satin locally. Desication cracks. Piece attached to plinth. Acquired by Guy Mercier, consultant for the Solvay group, who undertook at the beginning of the 20th century to assemble a vast collection of African tribal art. While radiating in West and Central Africa as part of his work, and collecting in-situ works, the majority of his collection is nevertheless derived from Curiosity cabinets which abounded in European capitals during the 1920s. It also comes from ...

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Statuette Pfemba Congo Yombe
African art > African fetish > Statuette Pfemba

A sculpted miniature of the Kongo , this female effigy embodies the ancestor of the clan, a mediating figure, evidenced by the scarifications of the bust. The child within embodies the matrilineal transmission of power. 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 eyes seem exorbitant, underlining the ancestor's ability to discern occult things. The use of this type of sculpture remains unknown. They were, however, a frequent form of the pattern carved at the top of the heads' canes. Dark brown patina, ochre residue. Fissures.br /Clan of the Kongo group, the Yombe established on the west coast of Africa, in the south-west of the Republic of Congo and in ...

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Masque facial Yoruba
objet vendu
African art > African mask > Yoruba Mask

Mask with a rounded pattern, broad luscious lips and stretched almond eyes pierced with a pupil. From the spherical skull, to the clear forehead, rises a frontal crest with a tip cut from parallel bands. Wealth and therefore prestige are reflected here, in African thought, through the treatment of the chin in bulging volumes suggesting the abundance of flesh. Underneath is a grooved collar. Locally chipped grainy skate.
The Yoruba society is very organized and has several associations whose roles vary. While men's society egbe reinforces social norms, the aro unites farmers. The gelede has more esoteric and religious aims. The notables come together in a society called esusu. The kingdoms of Oyo and Ijebu were born following the demise of the Ifé civilization and are still ...

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Statues Lobi Bateba phuwé
objet vendu
African art > African Statues > Lobi Statues

Ex-Collection Belgian tribal art.
Represented frontally, hands arranged on either side of the sex, this African statue Lobi has a face with meditative appearance. The closed eyelids, treated horizontally like the mouth, give a serious face that leans on the chest. This ancient wooden sculpture, the Bateba, was placed on the altar after a ritual to become the receptacle of a spirit of the bush, the Thil, and thus become an active, intermediate being who fights against sorcerers and all other harmful forces. The golden patina is particularly glossy. Small xylophageal damage stopped. When they are honored, these spirits show their benevolence in the form of abundant rains, good health, many births; Ignored, they remove it and lead to devastating epidemics, drought and suffering . These ...

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Pende Mbuya Mask
objet vendu
African art > African mask > Pende Mbuya Mask

Ex collection Of Belgian African art.

The African Mbuya masks are worn by young men during the initiation and circumcision rites that make up the Mukanda. The headdress here is decorated with cured hair. The facial features are droopy and quite angular.
A thick raffia beard accompanies the room.

The Pende is generally distinguished from the East (Kasai) or the West (Kwilu). There is a wide variety of Pende statues and masks (at least sixty) often anthropomorphic but sometimes also zoomorphic.

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Petit Masque Chokwe Pwo
African art > African mask > Chokwe Mask

Peacefully 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 power. The African Chokwe pwo masks, among the many masks akishi (sing: mukishi, indicating power) of African tribal art Chokwe, embody an ideal of beauty, Mwana Pwo, or the woman Pwo and appear nowadays during festive ceremonies. Joined by their male counterparts, chihongo recognizable to their large tray-shaped headdresses, the pwo s supposed to bring fertility and prosperity to the community. The cultural logic of these two icons developed during the pre-colonial period continues to inspire artists in northeastern Angola. The characteristic motifs on the forehead, and sometimes on the cheekbones, are part ...

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Pende caryatids neck press
objet vendu
African art > Head rest > Pende headrest

Aimed at preserving the head adornments, this piece of furniture consists of a curved neck support supported by female figures, positioned back to back, probably evoking the woman soothsayers. The latter also embody, for the user, spirits guardians of his rest. Glossy dark patina.
The seed live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the have 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, have a festive function, and embody different characters, including the chef, the soothsayer and his wife, the prostitute, the possessed, etc. The masks of initiation ...

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Small snake mask Baga Bansonyi
objet vendu
African art > African mask > Snake Mask

The polychromy of this African naja mask is well preserved. Decorated with losangic motifs in contrasting tones, it offers a patina of matte and velvety use. The contours of the flat, triangular head are engraved with a dentition. The lower part has erosion.
As african serpentiform initiation group used mainly by Bulongic (Kifinda village), a subgroup Baga on Guinean coastline, its size can be as large as 2.50 m. These masks were divided into two groups bearing the names Mosolo kombo and Sangaran , each with specific functions. Their design took shape in an esoteric context, at night in the forest. Privileges of initiated men, embodying a spiritual entity, the Baga Sangaran masks attended only circumcision, every 24 years according to the ethnologist Denise Paulme. During some ...

Lamellophone figurative Zande
African art > Djembe TamTam > Sanza Zande

Alted in Central Africa, this musical instrument or sanza consists of a sounding board here taking on the appearance of the bust of a male figure. Parallel blades have been attached to it. The thumbs of both hands will lean on the soundboard to vibrate the anterior ends of the tabs. The sculptor's creativity, coupled with a great aesthetic sense, is manifested by the reminder of the vertical arrangement of the tabs in the digitized fingers and feet, which punctuates his work. Red-brown oiled patina with kaolin highlights. Formerly referred to as the name Niam-Niam because they are considered anthropophages, the tribes grouped under the name Zande, Azandé, settled from Chad on the border of R.D.C.(Zaire), Sudan and the Central African Republic. According to their beliefs, man is endowed ...

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Pirogue Dogon
African art > African bronze > Bronze Dogon

African Art Dogon.
Embarcation of mythical beings, Nommos linked to the complex legends and beliefs of the Dogon. Animal motifs also refer to the animals of creation. Rusty brown patina. Nommo, a protective ancestor evoked in various forms in Dogon iconography, is said to be an ancestor endowed with the ability to manifest itself in a human or animal form.
Gon blacksmiths form an endogamous caste among the Dogon called irim. They now produce weapons, tools, and also work with wood. 'Masters of Fire' associated in dogon cosmogony with primordial beings Nommo created by the god Ama, they are also supposed to cure burns. Small metal objects, made using the lost wax technique, were widespread in the Interior Delta region of Niger, with copper making it through trans-Saharan trade. ...

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Fetish statuette Bulu, Boulou
objet vendu
African art > African Statues > Bulu Fetish

Anthropozoomorphic representations in African art.

Embodying the spirit of a great ape, this particularly expressive statuette embodies an orangutan. Around his neck are forged raffia bonds. One of the hands is placed on its voluminous abdomen, the second resting on a thigh. Brick red pigments accentuate the face. The irregular patina comes in the form of many grainy matte residues. Desication cracks, erosions.
Set between Cameroon and Gabon, in the equatorial forest, the Boulou are part of the Fang ensemble. Like the Fangs of South Cameroon famous for their large white masks, the Boulou also practiced the Ngil ritual to combat witchcraft and poisoning. Ngi is the gorilla, a fearsome animal to which the applicant identifies after his acceptance into the secret society. ...

Statue ritual lumbu, Loumbo
objet vendu
African art > African Statues > Statue Lumbu

Within the group named Shira , the Lumbu Loumbu, Balumbu, or Mbumba, of Bantu origin and native to the Congo Kingdom, 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 sculpture featuring a female figure leaning or lying on a basket-drawn stretcher, evoking a deceased woman, was also exhibited during ceremonies of the Bwiti, a cult of ancestors also shared by the neighbouring Tsogho. Magical ingredients (bilongu) were encased in the hole on his abdomen, usually hidden behind a mirror fragment as in the neighbouring Kongo. The matte, dry patina has erosions, a damaged headdress and legs. The character's arms are articulated.

Nyanga Mambela Introductory Mask
African art > African mask > Nyanga Mask

The arrangement of the circular ears at the outer corner of the eyes forms a specificity of this Mambela mask of Nyanga from the Kisangani region (e.g. Stanleyville). In addition to the groove engraved in the centre of the face, fine star motifs evoke the scarifications or tattoos of the group. Patina matte abrased.
In the Kivu forest of R.D.C., the Nyanga are native to Uganda, of Bahunde origin. The Hunde migration mixed them with the Lega living in the region. A patrilineal society, they live in the Kumu and Pere and live on hunting and agriculture. Their pottery and basketry produced by women are renowned. Many cults structure their religious life: the one associated with the god of fire, the aquatic serpent, and the spirits of nature. Circumcision and initiation ceremonies are ...

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Luba Shankadi Headrest
objet vendu
African art > Head rest > Luba neck press

The Luba are renowned for their refined statuary and famous in particular for their neck supports and stools made up of a cariatidic figure. The seated figures, entwined, leaning on the toes of their opposite, symbolize the Luba royalty. The neck supports protecting the hairstyles at night were also used to support the heads of the deceased, and sometimes, according to Albert Maesen, buried in their place. The characters embody the spirit of an ancestor, vidiye and are endowed with a cascading Shankadi-style hairstyle. Brown patina with orange reflections, ochre residual inlays, cracks and abrasions.
The Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa. Their cradle is the Katanga, specifically the region of the Lubu River, hence the name (Baluba, which means the Lubas). ...

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