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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.

Ntomokum Bambara mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bamana mask

African art and masks of initiation ceremonies
It is during the initiation ceremonies of young boys relating to the Ntomo society and shared with their Malinke neighbors, that the Bambara dance these masks.
The long, busted nose, which the Bambara favor in their tribal statuary, is associated with sociability and clan cohesion. In front of the four horns encrusted with cowries stands a sculpture in the round representing a woman.
Dark brown patina, oiled and matt. The groups of Bambara artisans nyamakala , more specifically the blacksmiths named numu , are in charge of carving ritual objects, endowed with the nyama , occult energy. Using fire and magical objects, the role of healer and diviner is also attributed to them. Their powers are transmitted to their ...


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Tabouret caryatide Luba/ Hemba Lupona / Kipona
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African art > Chair, palaver seat, throne, stool > Luba Seat

Kneeling and supporting the circular tray of a seat, a female figure forms the receptacle of a deceased sovereign leader (Luba, Roberts). The scarifications of the female figure, protruding, on spikes, surround the umbilical, the centre of the world. associated with lineage, and those of the lower abdomen, horizontal, symbolize fertility. This stool named lupona , or kioni or kipona, kiona, according to the sources, constitutes the meeting point of the sovereign, his people, and protective spirits and ancestors, where symbolically and spiritually past and present mingle. It was once the seat on which the king was inducted mulopwe. The seats were arranged on leopard skins at the inauguration of the new leader. It was only after sitting there that his address was royal and divine. Apart ...

Kongo Vili fetish
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African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Vili fetish

This fetish with several heads symbolizing the ominivoyance is equipped with a resinous mass in which a magic charge is imprisoned. The object may have been designed for therapeutic purposes or as a protective figure against witchcraft.
The Vili, the Lâri, the Sûndi, the Woyo, the Bembé, the Bwende, the Yombé and the Kôngo formed the Kôngo group, led by the king ntotela. Their kingdom reached its peak in the 16th century with the ivory and copper trade and the slave trade. With the same beliefs and traditions, they produced a statuary with a codified gesture related to their worldview. Present along the Gabonese coast, the Vili broke away from the Kongo kingdom in the 16th century and the Loango kingdom became a powerful state. Now urbanized for the most part, they ...


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180.00  144.00

Pende ritual statue
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Pende statue

Most of the pende statues were part of a fertility cult and were kept in a room in the chief's house. However, the purpose of this one is unknown to us. In the category of the most unlikely sculptures, this female figure frozen in a complex gesture, perched on a pedestal, is topped with buns that probably contain a therapeutic or magical ritual charge.

Cracks of desiccation, abrasions.
The Western Pende live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the Eastern have settled on the banks of the Kasai downstream from Tshikapa. The influences of the neighboring ethnic groups, Mbla, Suku, Wongo, Leele, Kuba, and Salempasu have been imprinted on their extensive tribal art sculpture. Within this diversity the realistic Mbuya masks, produced every ten years, have a festive ...


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490.00  392.00

Pende mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Pende mask

The mask on the opposite page would belong to the Kindombolo category, the perforations symbolizing a face affected by smallpox. This type of mask generally appears during festive celebrations such as after the planting of millet, manifesting itself by a vulgar and disorderly behavior. Coated with ochre, it has lowered eyelids typical of pende masks and a mouth revealing cut teeth. Its specificity also lies in details such as the high narrow forehead and bulging cheeks.
The Western Pende live on the banks of the Kwilu River, while the Eastern have settled on the banks of the Kasai River downstream from Tshikapa. The influences of the neighboring ethnic groups, Mbla, Suku, Wongo, Leele, Kuba, and Salempasu have been imprinted on their extensive tribal art sculpture. Within this ...


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Komo, Kumu, Biangolo masker
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Komo masker

The masks nsembu of the Kumu appear in pairs at the enthronement or funeral of the diviner. Combining two contrasting colors, it personifies the spirit of divination.
Matte patina.
The Kumu , Bakumu, Komo, live mainly in the northeast and center in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Their Bantu language is Komo or Kikomo . Several ethnic groups are closely intertwined, with similar associations: the Mbole, Yela, Lengola, and Metoko. Their artistic production also has great similarities with that of the Metoko and Lengola. Their divination masks were exhibited at the closing ceremonies of the initiation and circumcision of the youth of the nkunda society. It is indeed in the Maniema region around the Lualaba River and the Great Lakes that Lega sculpture has largely ...

Sundi small mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Sundi mask

The African masks naturalistic of the Kongo clans.

According to sources, these masks would belong to diviners or were worn during funeral rites.
This example framed with delicate ears, one of which is damaged, stands out for the serenity and harmony of its features.
A visored hairstyle surmounts the face bordered with raffia on the lower contours.
Ochre patina with residues of white pigments.

Height on base: 27 cm.
The Vili , the Lâri, the Sûndi, the Woyo, the Bembé, the Bwende, the Yombé and the Kôngo formed the Kôngo group, headed by the king ntotela . Their kingdom reached its peak in the 16th century with the ivory and copper trade and the slave trade. With the same beliefs and traditions, they produced a statuary with ...


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340.00  272.00

Hemba "Buli" cup carrier
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba statue

Sculpted in the style of the famous "master of Buli" of Hemba descent, this Luba/Hemba statue, represented in an attitude of concentrated meditation, presents a "mboko" cup destined for the sacred kaolin, an indispensable element for mediation with the spirits. The particularity of its plasticity characterizes the sculpture of the Buli region. Brown-black patina, cracks of desiccation and abrasions.

The Hemba settled in southeastern Zaire. Once under Luba rule, these farmers and hunters practice ancestor worship through 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 the hereditary chiefs, secret societies, male such as the ...


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350.00  280.00

Lega initiation figure of the Bwami
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lega figure

Small figure studded with dots, carved without arms, whose bust forms a replica of the head.
The features of the face, hollowed out in the shape of a heart, with coffee bean eyelids, are reminiscent of the Lega masks imbued with kaolin.
Locally abraded matte patina, desiccation cracks.
The African art of the Lega , Balega, or Warega , is distinguished by its initiation statuettes, also made of ivory, some of which were kept in a basket for the highest Bwami officials of different communities. This type of tribal art statuette Iginga ( Maginga in the plural), was the property of the high ranking members of the Bwami, a secret society admitting men and their wives, and governing social life.
This organization was subdivided into initiatory stages, the ...


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240.00  192.00

Luba comb with female pattern
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African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Luba comb

A major accessory to the sumptuous Luba headdresses, the African comb is always sculpted with motifs associated with founding myths, royalty or religious beliefs. This everyday object is topped by a female figure carved in the round. The Luba female effigy, associated with a role as a spiritual medium, presents a headdress, behind a band uncovering a traditionally shaven forehead, worn by Luba women at the beginning of the 20th century. This figure affirms the major role of women in Luba royalty(the bizila) through their role as political and spiritual intermediaries.
Light brown semi-matt patina.
The Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa. Their cradle is Katanga, more precisely the region of the Lubu River, thus the name (Baluba, which means ...


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150.00  120.00

Guéré Wé mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Guere mask

The very diverse excrescences of this warrior's mask, supposed to provoke fear, give it a fantastic appearance. Narrow openings represent the eyes, while a grooved "snout" counterbalances the volume of the forehead. The grainy, partially flaked patina is enhanced with white and red ochre pigments.
The Wé produced African masks that are the result of interlocking stylistic forms. The Dan , in the north, and the Wé of the south ( Krou group including the Guéré , the Wobé of the northeast and the Wé of Liberia called Kran or Khran), made use of frequent borrowings due to their proximity. The elements of the bush, protruding volumes of the forehead, horns and fangs, zoomorphic jaw in some cases evoking the gaping mouth of an animal creature, are associated with human ...


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380.00  304.00

Carved cup Kuba Lele
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African art > Jars, amphoras, pots, matakam > Lele cup

Among the prestigious objects of the Kuba groups, this cephalomorphic cup decorated with geometric motifs has a handle. Shiny patina. Damaged upper contours. Desiccation crack.
The Kuba are renowned for the refinement of prestige objects created for members of the higher ranks of their society. Indeed, several Kuba groups produced anthropomorphic objects with refined designs including cups, drinking horns and beakers. The Lele are established in the west of the Kuba kingdom, at the confluence of the Kasai and Bashilele rivers. Intercultural exchanges between the Bushoong of the Kuba territory and the Lele have made the attribution of certain objects difficult, as both groups use the same iconography, composed of faces with elaborate hairstyles and geometric decorative ...


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180.00  144.00

Female figure Metoko
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Metoko statue

This sculpture played a role in funeral rites and was then placed on the tomb of the deceased. The face, graphic, and the body, worked in a realistic style, are divided into two colors. Residual clay incrustations. Desiccation cracks.
Statues named Ibubi, belonging to the Nkumi, ancient of the Bukota used as the kakungu figure for initiation rites in male society, played a role during mediation in disputes. The Metoko and Lengola, whose ritual sculptures are very similar, are peoples of the primary forest dedicated to the worship of a single God, a rare monotheism in Africa. Their society comprising three ranks, the Bukota, structured daily life and accommodated both men and women. It represents the equivalent of the Bwami association of the Lega. The sculptures ...


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340.00  272.00

Dogon horseman figure in bronze
African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Dogon rider

This statuette represents a horsewoman, carrying a spear. Brown patina with residual ochre inlays. The frequent representations of horsemen among the Dogon of Mali refer to their cosmogony and their complex religious myths. Indeed, one of the Nommos, ancestors of the men, resuscitated by the creator god Amma, came down on the earth carried by an ark metamorphosed into a horse. Moreover, the highest authority of the Dogon people, the religious chief named Hogon, paraded on his horse during his enthronement because according to the custom he should not put his foot on the ground. In the region of the Sangha cliffs, inaccessible by horse, the priests carried him, neighing in reference to the mythical ancestor Nommo.
The Dogon blacksmiths form an endogamous caste among the Dogon ...


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280.00

Female figure Dogon
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Dogon

Sculpted mostly to order by a family and in this case arranged on the family altar Pull Kabou , the Dogon tribal statues can also be the object of worship on the part of the whole community when they commemorate, for example, the foundation of the village. These statues, sometimes embodying the nyama of the deceased, are placed on altars of ancestors and participate in various rituals including those of periods of seeds and harvests. However, their functions remain little known. Parallel to Islam, dogon religious rites are organized around four main cults: the Lebe, relating to fertility, under the spiritual authority of the Hogon, the Wagem, cult of ancestors under the authority of the patriarch, the Binou invoking the spirit world and led by the priest of Binou, and the society of ...


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190.00  152.00

Lega Lukwakongo small mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lega mask

Primitive Lega sculptures in African art. This mask, which was not intended to be worn, but handled during rituals, displays an oblong face in which the orbits are hollowed out in a heart. The center bears granular residues of white clay. This African Lega mask indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society composed of different grades, and which was joined by wives whose spouse had reached the third level, that of the ngandu . Total height on base: 26 cm Within the Lega, the Bwami society 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 during the seventeenth century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River ...


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Salampasu Mukinka mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Salampasu mask

This African mask, decorated with numerous wicker balls, is linked to the ceremonies and initiation rites of the warrior society. It also appeared at funerals in connection with the previous initiations of the deceased, and in many cases, in return for payment. The power of certain masks was so feared that their name alone caused women and children to flee. These masks are distinguished by their bulbous foreheads, blunt noses and mouths revealing cut teeth. This fierce-looking example stands out for its large forehead and protruding tubular ears.
Living from hunting and agriculture, warlike people, Salampasu form a tribe of the Lulua group and are settled between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Angola, east of the Kasai River. They are surrounded to the west and south by ...


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190.00

Maternity figure Asye usu Baule
African art > Maternity, statues, bronze, wood > Baule statue

Ex-collection of French African tribal art.
For the Baoule, seeing a woman's genitals can be fatal for a man. The depiction of a female figure, naked, unclothed by a loincloth of cloth, forms a threat. She is probably the embodiment of a female goddess. Represented seated, featuring a child, the woman wears traditional keloid scars, glass beaded necklaces and a hairstyle whose chiseled braids on the wood form large shells. Brilliant dark brown patina. Lack of base.

Two types of statues are produced by the Baoulé in the ritual framework: The Waka-Sona statues, be wooden in baoulé, evoke a silish 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 ...


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135.00

Kasangala League/ Katanda figurines
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > League Statues

The anthropomorphic sculptures with arms raised above the head would, according to Cameron, evoke the one who settled a dispute through his arbitration. These figures are named kasangala . At the same time, the object has a punched bust of several holes, referring to the destructive work of a mat by red ants, also related to laziness and sexual debauchery. These objects are called Katanda. The face is smeared with chipped kaolin.
Oiled, sained, locally abraded patina, revealing the veining of a light wood.
This type of tribal art statuette was kept in the basket of high-ranking officers of the Bwami, a secret society admitting men and their wives, and governing social life. This organization was subdivided into initiation stages, the highest being the Kindi. The statuettes ...

Luba Kifwebe Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Luba Mask

Semi-spherical mask, streaked with circular grooves, it adopts certain elements of the Songye masks of the Kifwebe, including the stretched eyelids and the geometric mouth in projection. However, it did not have the same function. This category of rather rare African masks are named 'bifwebe'. They appeared at funerals and investitures. They performed during the ritual ceremonies of the society kazanzi , charged with fighting witchcraft. " Bifwebe (Sing.: kifwebe) would mean, according to C. Faïk-Nzuji, 'chasing death'. Worn with a voluminous raffia collar that concealed the dancer, this mask was usually danced in the company of a zoomorphic mask. Patine mate. The reddish mouth wood is eroded, as is the tip of the nose. Abrasions of use.
Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) are a people of ...


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Mossi Biga Fertility doll
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African art > African Dolls > Mossi doll

br>A schematized fertility doll, whose head appearance varies from region to region, it represents a spirit with which a relationship is established. The tubular bust, pointed at the level of the abdomen, is endowed with a chest. The angular, stylized head evokes the feminine crest hairstyle, the parallel incisions, the scarification and the braids of the ethnic group. Beautiful satin dark brown patina.
The use of dolls by young African women is not exclusively within the initiatory context. When menstruation occurs, the young girl is considered a potential mother. In many ethnic groups, the search for fertility is then done through intitiatic rites. Wooden figures are then carved, some reflecting both genders, often dressed in beads and clothing. During the period of ...


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100.00  80.00





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