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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.

Figure masculine Mumuye
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African art > African Statues > Mumuye figure

Ex-French tribal art collection.
Etoning Mumuye figures of African art
Among the diversity of Mumuye statues, varying according to the villages, certain features are recurrent: an extremely purified, stretched morphology, and a relative absence of ornamentation.  The arms of this statue frequently detach from the bust, bent in this case, and an arch stylization of the lower limbs is noteworthy, all reflecting a dynamism.  The proportionally small head has a face with sketchy features, a neutral appearance, and round eyes.   The barely distinct reminder of ethnic scarifications results in numerous parallel incisions of the bust and headdress. The conical headdress, flanked by wide "ears" in side panels framing a neck stretched like a column, would rather evoke a warrior helmet.  ...


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

The African art of Côte d'Ivoire and its fantastic masks
With six pairs of tubular eyes, in reference to the phrase often quoted in West Africa "four eyes", describing a person endowed with a power of divination, this Kru board mask has a parallelepipedal mouth brushed with red ochre. Striped patterns painted on the surface contrast with the speckled brown patina of the ensemble. The top has co-meddlehorn horns and a raffia beard garnishes the lower base. The Kru are divided into twenty-four subgroups, including the Grebo, based in southern Liberia and southwestern Côte d'Ivoire. Their leader is the bodio, who lives reclusively. Unlike most people in West Africa, they are not subject to Poro society. Their masks with tubular growths are said to be of origin oubi , and could symbolize ...


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450.00

Female figure Nkpasopi Akye or Abe
African art > African Statues > Statue Nkpasopi

Sculpted and decorated according to aesthetic criteria allowing u-0022capter" the spirit to which the medium or healer addresses, this motherhood with an ovoid face, the curved morphology of the statues Nkpasopi , has a sumptuous hairstyle organized in buns and long braid. This type of statues were evaluated on the basis of the effectiveness of the rituals depicting them. In most cases, these statues served as a mediator between the healers and the spirits that took hold of them, and they are still used today. The lagoon populations of eastern Côte d'Ivoire include mainly Attié, Akyé, Ebrié and Abouré. Their sculptures offer many similarities. These kingdoms had the first commercial establishments offering gold, ivory, slaves and pepper to the West.Among the group of Akan , the Aattié ...


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390.00

Cup carrier Luba Shankadi
African art > African Statues > Statue Luba

A kneeling female figure with a hemispheric container mboko , a gourd that was filled with kaolin, an image of purity and the spiritual world. These containers were used by different Luba societies, and groups of prophets, more generally by the mediums of the society of divination Kilumbu, Bilumbu , or by the healers of society Buhabo . The soothsayers Mbudye also used it. It was a matter, individually or collectively, to consult the spirits of the ancestors through specialists.
Red brown orange skate. Erosions, cracks on the cut.
According to P. Nooter, these figures, seated or kneeling as appropriate, also represented the soothsayer's wife, underscoring her importance in the divination process bilumbu . According to some Lubas, however, although a woman, she would represent ...


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240.00

Kota Sculpted Door
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African art > Door shutter > Kota Gate

This six-panel door evokes the memory of illustrious ancestors, by depicting motifs depicting the carved effigies named mbulu-ngulu, which were placed on the reliquary baskets containing the bones of prestigious forebears. These stylized figures, plated in brass-brass according to the kota tradition, form a stylized image of the ancestor, a coat of arms also for the clan, and are generally distinguished by the shape of the headdress, which varies by region. The figures on this piece of furniture are decorated in engraved geometric patterns, stars and diamonds. The surface is covered with white pigments and, very locally, indigo. The two central doors, with handles, are kept closed thanks to two locks on the back. The Kota live in the eastern part of Gabon, which is rich in iron ore, and ...


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Large Fang statue of byeri reliquary
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African art > African Statues > Statue Fang

Several variants of Fang Byeri statues are illustrated in The African Byeri art. Each family has a "Byeri", or reliquary box, in which the bones of ancestors are preserved. These boxes were guarded by the oldest man in the village, the "esa". The reliquary boxes were topped with a statue or a head that acted as custodian of the "byi" boxes. These were kept in a dark corner of the box, and were intended to divert evil influences to someone else. They were also used during the initiation ceremonies of young people linked to the company "So". During the holidays, the statues were separated from their boxes and paraded. This statue, intended to be placed in a basket-reliquary by the posterior stalk, is entirely plated with copper slats with a golden reflection joined by staples. Bone beads ...

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

The Ti-wara in African art.
It would be an animal - genius called Ciwara who would have taught the Bambara to cultivate the land. They recall the myth through the stylized representation of a hippotrague antelope, whose name ci wara means "fauve of the earth". Decorated on the head and the sides of metal veneers engraved with the repulsed, the ears and snout are also embellished with cotton yarn pompoms attached to pearls. The top of the horns tilted backwards is also covered with leather and hair. This vertical sculpture of Ci Wara is represented here with successive arches depicting the mane, so it is a male antelope. Masks usually danced as a couple. Mate patina, sparse abrasions. Worn at the top of the skull and held in place by a basket-making hat, these crests accompanied the ...


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Statuette Ngbaka
African art > African Statues > Ngbaka Fetish

The Ubangian crucible has produced many statuettes that share certain similarities, such as a heart-shaped face, as in the Ogooué River region of Gabon. Some authors (Celenko 1983) have attributed this type of work to the Zande living north of the Ngbaka.The Ngbaka form a homogeneous people of the north-west of the R.D.C., south of Ubangui. The Ngandi live to the east and the Ngombe to the south. A nasal ridge running up to the mouth here divides the large concave orbits characterizing the ovoid face of this hermaphrodite character. The rounded volumes of the body follow one another with rhythm from the head, with a rounded back bearing forward two small short arms gathered around the chest, a narrow bust widening towards developed lower limbs carried by massive feet.
Satin ...


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280.00

Little mask Luba Kifwebe
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African art > African mask > New product

This miniature mask was made in the fruit of the gourd. This type of mask was worn like a talisman. The absence of a crest indicates here that this African mask ("kikashi ") embodies a female spirit or ancestor, although it is still worn by men. The large copies were accessorized with a voluminous raffia collar that concealed the dancer. The mask was usually danced in the company of a zoomorphic mask. In the Luba, white is synonymous with the relationship with the spiritual world and the moon, which is also evoked by the circular shape of the object. The almond eyes are hollowed out, the toothed mouth forms a broad rictus. Natural ochre skate. These rather rare Luba masks are frequently confused with those of the Songye and their neighbours. The streaks would return to the same symbolism, ...


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Ashanti Akuaba doll
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African art > African Dolls > Ashanti doll

Akuaba doll statuettes (plural Akua'mma) are amulets used by Ashanti women to promote fertility. They are easily identifiable by their structure. Their circular head has a high forehead occupying the upper part, the lines usually appear in the lower third of the head. The latter is carried by a small cylindrical body whose arms develop at a right angle. The legs are absent, the trunk integrating directly into a slightly wider base.
Honey version for this doll adorned with pearl necklaces. Glossy patina, kaolin residue.
This people consider women to be the final arbiter of all decisions. Fertility and children are the most common themes mentioned in Ashanti wood carvings. This ethnic group has built a relatively democratic society based on the moral value of the individual. The ...


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Ngil Fang Mask
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African art > African mask > Fang Mask

This African mask of the Fang illustrates one of the many stylistic variations of the Fang masks of ngil, starting from a full-length volume in which assertive features confer an austere appearance. The powerful nose grows in length, drawing the eye to the protruding mouth revealing a row of teeth. Under the ajar eyelids, parallel incisions indicate tribal scarifications, as do the grooves dividing the forehead. The hairstyle is arranged in a helmet topped by a double crest.
Golden brown speckled patina, abrasions. Misses on the headdress.
The appearance of these masks, usually coated with kaolin (the white color evokes the power of ancestors), in the middle of the night, could cause dread. This type of mask was used by the men's society ngil which no longer exists today. This ...


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Kasangala League/ Katanda figurines
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African art > African Statues > 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 ...

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

Gemini in African art Yoruba.
The statuettes are distinguished here by their braided crest hairstyles, their pearl necklaces, and their clothing. Symbol of wealth and fertility, the rosaries of cauris knotted on their wrists. Lilibation residues mattify the smooth surface. Sculpted according to ifa indications transmitted to the soothsayer, the babalawo , the Ibedji statuettes played the role of substitute for the death of the child.
The statues are then treated as the missing child would have been. It is the mother who must take care of it; it anoints them with oil and feeds them regularly, also offering them sacrifices. If it disappears it is the remaining twin who takes over.
Considered as much more than a physical representation of a loved one, the ibedji statues, ...

Statuette Nkisi Congo
African art > African Statues > Statuette congo

Tribal statuette consecrated by the priest nganga , this fetish of kongo has a magical charge housed on the abdomen, in a cylindrical resinous gangue, and in the back, hidden in a textile bag. This amalgam or bilongo consisted of various ingredients from the natural environment including red clay, red wood powdertukula, white clay pembe... , but possibly human fragments such as teeth, nails, hair. This fetish of conspiracy was therefore supposed to influence the health, prosperity, enemies of its holder. The hollowed-out orbital cavities were frequently sealed by glass. The mouth is gaping, revealing the teeth. The character is shown kneeling with his hands resting on his thighs. The high headdress is composed of a bouquet of feathers gathered by a string of raffia. Clear patina with a ...


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280.00

Fetish statuette Bulu, Boulou
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. ...


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180.00

Masque Bamana du Ntomo
African art > African mask > Bambara Mask

This mask of the ntomo , an initiation society of uncircumcised young people spread in the Niger River region, is considered a male mask, given its six horns. Most of these masks are coated with charred charcoal powder. This mask appears mainly during the harvest season. It is particularly distinguished by its metallic highlights that highlight the organs and contrast with the black surface.
Establishes 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 the existence of a god requires the gestation of a child. Ngala maintains the order of ...


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280.00

Yombe Drum Statue
African art > African Statues > Statue Yombe

This figure seated in a suit, holding his sex with both hands, is surmounted by a drum adorned with a face carved in relief. Wide open, glazed eyes are recurrent in Kongo statuary. They are associated with psychic abilities. The mouths reveal traditionally lined teeth. The drum is stretched with animal skin nailed to the contours highlighted by a raffia braid. The crusty, dark surface has localized red and burgundy pigments adjacent to residues dotted with white clay. Misses on the back. This object evoking virility could be associated with the rites of circumcision and the music that accompanied it. However more than one function were usually assigned to Yombe sculptures.
In the 13th century, the people Kongo , led by their king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads of ...


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380.00

Baoulé Ndoma Mask
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African art > African mask > Baule Mask

This large Baoulé mask, carved from dense wood, named portrait mask or Ndoma, appears during visits by dignitaries. It has a crest in the form of a zoomorphic figure. The serene appearance of the face, with modestly lowered eyelids, is enhanced by scarifications called " ngole". The hairstyle is streaked with mats carefully collected and divided into three parts. Lustrous brown surface, locally thinned, dotted with residual inlays.
The Baoulé people (name from a legend, "Bauli", "The son died") forms one of the largest tribes in Côte d'Ivoire. These portrait masks of the Baoulé, ndoma , which are part of one of the oldest Baoulé artistic traditions and frequently represent an idealized character, have the peculiarity of manifesting itself at the end of the ceremonies of ...


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Statuette Ere Ibedji Yoruba
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African art > African Dolls > Statuette Yoruba

Sculpted according to the indications of the Ifa transmitted to the soothsayer, the babalawo, the Ibedji statuettes played the role of substitute for the death of the child. The statuettes are then treated as the missing child would have been. It is the mother who must take care of it; it anoints them with oil and feeds them regularly. If it disappears it is the remaining twin who takes over. Considered much more than a physical representation of a loved one. The ibedji statues influence the life of the family, which is why the family continues to pray to them and to worship them and to give them cults and libations. This feminine statuette is draped in a woven cotton garment on which are regularly embroidered cauris symbolizing wealth and fertility. These ibedji statues are among the ...

Dogon couple figures in bronze
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African art > African bronze > Statues Dogon

Silhouettes of longiform African art, tribal-inspired, standing on a pedestal. These African statues Dogon, in bronze, evoke the Nommos, the origin of the creation among the Dogon of Mali. Recalling also the sculptures of the famous Giacometti, they are represented in the position of invocation, arms raised to the sky. Their surface is punctuated by a succession of notches.
Patine with grey-green reflections. 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 ...

Luba neck support
African art > Head rest > Luba neck support

The Luba are renowned for their statuary and in particular their neck-rests and stools made up of a cariatid figure. The symbolic figures adorning this neck support to preserve the complex headdress of its owner refer to the luba royalty, to its feminine and masculine part. But the neck supports were also used to support the heads of the deceased, and sometimes, according to Albert Maesen, buried in their place. The characters leaning on their hands, with a sophisticated hairstyle, and embodying spirits, are depicted pressing with their feet the knee of the one facing them. This attitude has symbolic value. Smooth patina dark brown mahogany. The Luba (Baluba in Chiluba) are a people of Central Africa. Their cradle is the Katanga, more precisely the region of the Lubu River, hence the name ...


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240.00





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