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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.

Koulango/ Ashanti polychrome maternity
African art > Maternity, statues, bronze, wood > Koulango figure

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Named Pakhalla by the Dioula, the Koulango formed the Loron in Voltaic territory. The Dagomba chiefs of the Bouna kingdom would later have referred to them as "Koulam" (singular: koulango , subject, vassal). Their complex history has given rise to a no less complex culture. It is between Burkina Faso and Comoé, in the north east of Côte d'Ivoire, that their territory extends. With an animist fetish religion, they address their ancestors and the spirits of nature through sculptures in which the souls of these spirits are supposed to reside. Female figure associated with fertility, represented seated on a royal throne. The ringed neck and the hairstyle divided into shells are criteria of Koulango beauty. Polychrome pigments highlight certain details, contrasting with the black ...

Dogon ceremonial hair pin
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Dogon Pin

African art collection put up for sale by Jan Putteneers.
This dogon sculpture, a traditional figurative jewel, adorned with a zoomorphic subject, accompanied the ceremonial dress of religious leaders, hogon, responsible for the cult of the lebe, mythical snake, and priests of the Binou. Small metal objects, made using the lost wax technique, were widespread in the interior delta region of Niger, with copper being made possible through trans-Saharan trade. Excavations on the Bandiagara plateau have uncovered remains of steel sites prior to the 15th century, when the Dogons arrived. In yellow copper alloy, this element of dogon tribal adornment has acquired a beautiful golden patina. Dogon blacksmiths form an endogamous caste among the Dogon called rim . They now produce weapons, ...


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Yoruba Pillar Summit
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Yoruba statue

This African sculpture naturalistic, allowing according to the Yoruba communication with the afterlife, features as a maternal figure one of the many female goddesses, the earth goddess Onilé ("owner of the House"), guarantor of longevity, peace, and resources, and linked to the powerful Ogboni society among the Yoruba Egba and Ijebu. It could also symbolize Orunmila , goddess of divination.
Intended to be enthroned on an altar, she was worshipped by members of the powerful Ogboni, or Osugbo, society in charge of justice.
Satin polychrome patina, abrasions.
Centered on the veneration of its gods, or orisà, the Yoruba religion relies on artistic sculptures with coded messages (aroko). The kingdoms of Oyo and Ijebu arose following the demise of the Ife ...


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350.00  280.00

Yaure mask, Yohoure, Ivory Coast
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Yaoure Mask

Topped with a sculpted figure, this African yaoure mask sports a hairstyle incised with geometric patterns, divided into three, indicating material ease. The regular features are raised from the traditional scarifications. This mask from the Ivory Coast also appears during celebrations. Satin patina, locally abraded. Height on base: 53 cm.
The Yaoure are a sub-group of the Akan people present in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. Geographically close to the Baule and the Gouros, one feels the influence of these ethnic groups in the Yaoure art through the concern for detail and aesthetics. The masks of African art Yaouré, or Yauré, of which the Baoulé have similar models, are divided into two groups that are difficult to differentiate, the je, sometimes with the addition of colored ...


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380.00  304.00

Nyamwezi calabash doll
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African art > African Dolls > Nyamwezi doll

A true object of curiosity testifying to Nyamwezi creativity, this doll is made up of interlocking calabashes and is distinguished by a variety of accessories, metal rings, beaded necklaces, cowries, and fabric mats embroidered with shells. The features are also enhanced with beaded inlays. A ring is used to balance the statue. The Luo, Kuria, Haya and Ziba, the Kerewe, Karagwe, Sukuma and Nyamezi are established in the west central and central region of Tanzania. The Nyamwezi , Nyamézi ,("people of the west" and sometimes "people of the moon") form the largest group among the tribes living in north central Tanzania. Coming from diverse origins, although sharing similar cultural specificities, their ritual and artistic production consequently presents very different formal aspects. ...


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450.00  360.00

Grebo Kru mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Grebo mask

The African art from the banks of the Cavally and its fantastic African masks.
With a powerful visual impact, this mask with projecting features has cylindrical eyes that would refer to clairvoyant faculties. The feathers at the top, which were intended to give the illusion of a spiky headdress, are absent. Satin patina punctuated by crusty residues of kaolin.
Height on base: 49 cm.
The Kru are divided into twenty-four subgroups of which the Grebo are a part, settled in southern Liberia and southwestern Côte d'Ivoire. Their chief is the bodio, who lives reclusively in a hut, the takae . Their masks with tubular outgrowths are said to be of oubi origin, and may symbolize the mythical creatures that inhabit the forests on the banks of the Cavally, which ...


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Masque Lombi
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Masque Lombi

A Group of Sudan languages established in northeastern Congo (Maniema) among Bantu-speaking ethnic groups, the Lombi were influenced by sculptures of the Kumu, Ndaaka, Mbo, forests of Uituri. The Lombi organized into secret associations, including the Mambela relating to certain birds, and that of the leopard, the Aniota . This very rare mask probably appeared during ceremonies related to initiation rites. With a handle and a tubular element at the top surrounded by feathers and raffia, it is formed of large orbits pierced with orifices for the eyes. Sporting a jovial face, this mask is indeed split with a wide and unusual toothed smile. Satin golden brown patina.


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Bronze Kongo statuette
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Statuette Congo

This small anthropomorphic sculpture, of kisi type, takes in miniature the canons of the Kongo statuary, and in particular the funerary statues inyongo or mintadi of lower Zaire, which were made of stone. These figures form the vital embodiment of a spirit or ancestor. Comes with plexi base.
The Vili, the Lâri, the Sûndi, the Woyo, the Bembé, the Bwende, the Yombé and the Kôngo formed the group Kôngo , led by King ntotela. Their kingdom reached its peak 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 sorcerers nganga, both healers, were in charge of religious activities and mediation towards the God called Nzambi by the help of consecrated figures. To ...


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245.00  196.00

Fang Ngontang helmet mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang mask

The remarkable Fang sculptors and blacksmiths in African art .

This helmet mask is topped with elements associated with traditional headdresses between which heads are carved, while faces alternate on the walls of the mask. Geometric patterns are hollowed out, arranged in plastrons under the faces. Abrasions and desiccation cracks.
This variant of Fang masks is known as Ngontang (or Ngontanga), "the figure of the white man's daughter" . Appearing in the 1920s, it represents the spirits of the dead visiting in the form of a young white woman from the afterlife and was used to locate witch doctors and those who abuse spiritual powers. These masks are now also brought out for celebrations, funerals, birthdays, and for important decisions in the village. It was also worn ...


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Baule Kpwan mask of Goli
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Baule mask

African mask, of entertainment, thus being able, according to the tradtion baule, to be seen of the women. This sculpture of African art has a colored patina. The high headdress, like a mitre, is made of braided shells. The face is delicately underlined by traditional scarifications called "ngole". The end of one of the braids is missing. These portrait masks of the Baule, ndoma, which are part of one of the oldest Baule artistic traditions and frequently represent an idealized character, have the particularity of appearing at the end of entertainment dance ceremonies. These are named, depending on the region, bedwo, ngblo, mblo, adjussu, etc.... Each of these masks are distinguished by hairstyles, location and choice of scarification, etc... Also called Gbagba, they personify ...


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Lega figure
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lega figure

The African art of the Lega, Balega, or even Warega, is distinguished by its initiation statuettes, sometimes made in ivory.
A series of orifices punctuate the bust of this Bwami teaching statuette called Mr. Sleeping Mat ("Art of the Lega," E.L.Cameron). "Mat" means a mat, doormat, which would have been eaten away by red ants. Moreover, the object would represent, in the Lega thought, the result of the sexual libertinage in the society. The head presents the lega typology, face in heart. Matt patina pigmented with white clay.
This type of 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 ...


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Eket Ibibio mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Eket mask

The Eket carve circular masks for the agricultural festivals and funeral ceremonies of the Ekpo society. In the center of this small mask, the face symbolizes the "Great Mother", a creative spirit linked to the full moon. As for the triangular decorative motifs, they refer to the necklaces of animal teeth worn by members of the Idiong divining society during certain ceremonies. A collar would halo the mask, attached to the perforations of the contours.
Thick matt patina. Misses.
Secret societies are numerous among the Ibibio settled west of the Cross River. Without a centralized government, their social organization is comparable to that of the neighboring Igbo. Ancestor worship is under the authority of the highest ranking members of the Ekpo. The latter use ...


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390.00  312.00

Yaka Mukoku ngombu Slot drum
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African art > Tam Tam, Djembe, musical instruments > Yaka Drum

The Yaka like to surround themselves in daily life with charms embellished with sculpted objects with cephalomorphic motifs, such as this African musical instrument, Yaka slit drum, mukoku ngombu, nkoku ngombu, intended for divination ceremonies and curative rites. The head, which would represent the mediator diviner wearing a high skullcap, has a heart-shaped face in which the eyelids protrude.
Satin patina, locally abraded. Cracks and marks of use. Among the Yaka, at the new moon, the ngaanga ngoombu diviner covers his face with kaolin before issuing an oracle. During its daytime passage through the underground, the moon coats itself with this white clay. The night would convey the virtues of life. The Mukoku Nogombu drum is the miniature version of the large mondo slit ...


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390.00  312.00

Baoule Kplé mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Baoule mask

This flat, circular African mask, the least important in the hierarchy of African Goli masks, has hollowed-out eyes topped by protruding pupils, and a rectangular mouth in which a set of teeth is chiseled, in connection with the traditional filing of teeth among young people. It is surmounted by hooped horns, symbolizing the antelope.
The female mask kouassi gbe or kplekple , according to some authors (Masques africains Barbier-Mueller,p.116) would be red. Vogel (Baule), on the other hand, indicates that in the Baule version of the Goli the male mask is painted red, and the female in black. It is likely that this attribution varies from village to village. Generally preceding the manifestation of a series of masks of the "Goli" family, this mask appears briefly during the day and ...


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Koulango Bouna Mask of the Do
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Koulango Mask

This African mask featuring three characters sitting on top of the headdress belongs to the Dô society in which clan leaders organize ritual sacrifices.
The other name that refers to it, especially among the Ligbi, is Singinkuru-Ayna, who have preserved certain animist traditions within the Dô society that could prove to be a remanence of the Poro practiced ches the Senoufo.


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Statuette Yaka Yiteke
African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Fetish Yaka

Ex-collection of Belgian African art.
These tribal statues, ritual charms belonging to the lineages and providing protection against enemies, were made according to the instructions of the Nganga ngoombu and the person who commissioned the object. These sculptures were then activated using rituals and incantatory formulas, and additions in the form of talismans. The object consists of a couple placed back to back, sharing a common loincloth and wearing a common crest. The headdress is that of the chiefs of the earth, the nose has a characteristic curled tip shape. These sculptures were hung in the huts. Chocolate patina coated with clay residues. Cracks of desiccation.

Hierarchical and authoritarian, composed of formidable warriors, the Yaka society was governed ...


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100.00

Bambara attic shutter
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African art > Doors, shutters, ladders dogon wood > Bamana shutter

This granary shutter is made up of two panels assembled by large metal staples, and is sculpted with bas-relief motifs referring to the agrarian world and its symbols. Indeed, it would be an animal - genius called Ciwara who would have taught the Bambara to cultivate the land. The latter recall the myth through the stylized representation of a hippotrague antelope, whose name ci wara means "false of the earth". Worn on top of the skull and held in place by a kind of small basket, these crests accompanied the dancers during the rituals of the tòn , an association dedicated to agricultural work. The masks would leap around the field to chase away the nyama, evil effluvia, and to detect any danger, or to flush out the evil genies that could take away the souls of the cultivated plants ...


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250.00  200.00

Benin Uhunmwun elao commemorative head
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Bénin head

African art from Benin is described as court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as the Oba. The tradition of bronze court objects in the Benin kingdom dates back to the 14th century. The many bronze alloy heads and statues created by Benin artists were reserved for the exclusive use of the inhabitants of the royal palace and, more often than not, placed on altars consecrated by each new Oba. These rectangular altars were topped with heads, statues, carved ivory tusks, bells and sticks. They were used to commemorate an oba and to make contact with his spirit. This late sculpture, reminiscent of those made at the death of the queen, depicts a queen mother of Benin named the Iyoba, whose neck is encircled with multiple coral bead necklaces. Her high headdress also ...

Pende figure from Kasai
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Pende statue

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Female figure carved in a naturalistic style, endowed with the famous half-closed female gaze, named "zanze". Depicted naked, hands on her chest, she adopts a concentrated expression. These statues were generally part of a fertility cult and were kept in a room in the chief's house.
Satin medium brown patina. 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 function, and embody different characters, including the chief, the diviner and his ...


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340.00  272.00

Baoule, Baoulé slingshot
African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Baoule slingshot

About sixty ethnic groups live in Côte d'Ivoire, including the Baoule, in the center, Akans from Ghana, people of the savannah, practicing hunting and agriculture just like the Gouro from whom they borrowed ritual cults and sculpted masks. Two types of statues are produced by the Baoule, Baulé, in the ritual framework: The Waka-Sona statues, "wooden being" in Baoule, evoke an Assi oussou, being of the earth. They are part of a type of statues intended to be used as a medium by the Komien diviners, who are selected by the asye usu spirits to communicate revelations from the beyond. The second type of statues are the "spouses" of the afterlife, male, the Blolo bian or female, the blolo bia, which are similar to a quest for fulfillment by seeking homage to one's idealized sexual opposite.


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60.00

Senufo slingshot
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African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Senufo slingshot

Ex-Belgian African art collection.
African slingshot with senoufo mask pattern. Very beautiful honey patina. Desiccation crack.br> Representations of hybrid beings, the zoomorphic African masks of the Sénufo are worn by members of Poro society, an institution that controls political and economic life. Their function is to honor the elders or even appear at funerals, hence their name, poniugo , "funeral head". Living in a private neighborhood, the sculptor Sénufo , whose training spanned seven years, began with the production of everyday objects, then, little by little, mounted sculptures of larger size. more importantly. Initiation rituals completed his training. The piece features decorative patterns in red and white pastilles.


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