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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.

Guéré Mask
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African art > African mask > Guéré mask

Guere African Art.
The African mask Guéré is known to be a complex piece in terms of both shapes and materials.

Guere masks are singers, dancers or warriors. Here the mask Guéré displays side attributes evoking small arms holding spoons. These large, ceremonial carved spoons belonged to the woman in charge of the young girls' initiation society. Representing the status and power of women, they were brandished during dancefestivities, and used to serve the meal to the notables.

Speckled patina, kaolin residues, residual ritual libation inlays at the top. Desication crack. The Guéré are an ethnic group from a forested region along the western border of Côte d'Ivoire. They are part of a larger people called Wé also including the Wobé ethnic group with which the ...


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Mende Bundu / Sowei Mask
African art > African mask > Mende Mask

In African art, sowei form an idealized representation of female beauty through Mende culture. They embody aquatic spirits. This cephalomorphic mask forms a copy of the type of masks named bundu the most important in the Mendes. The face has a high bulging forehead forming the top half. The features are concentrated tightly in the lower part, which is engulfed in a neck where the folds symbolizing prosperity appear an abundance of flesh. Painted black or tinted with a leaf brush, the mask was then rubbed with palm oil. Semi-saturated patina, Grainy residual inlays, desication cracks and indigenous restoration using resin on a ridge.br-The Mende, Vaï and Gola cultures of Sierra Leone, Liberia and the west coast of Guinea are known in African art for masks and especially those of the ...


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490.00

Mask Senoufo Kpéllié, Kpeliye e
African art > African mask > Senoufo Mask

The African masks of the Sénufo are worn by male members of the Poro society, an institution that controls political and economic life. Preserved in the sacred enclosure named sezang fine to remove them from the eyes of the uninitiated, their function is to honor the elders or appear at funerals. Anthropomorphic masks would mainly drive the spirit of the deceased from his place of residence. Zoomorphic elements and human figures combine here in a narrow mask whose contours are lined with rows of pearls and lined with a textile hood. " Kpélié It is also worn during initiations symbolically marking a death followed by a rebirth. The mask is carved in dense wood, one of the lower fins is broken. Beautiful patina of use dark color, locally grainy.
Live in a reserved area, the sculptor ...


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390.00

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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280.00

Primitive currency Idoma
African art > African Currencies > Paléomonnaie

This primitive African currency takes the form of a flared blade under which volute arms emerge. The surface is hammered with notches forming a regular relief. The lower base, at the tip, could be recorded in the ground. In Africa, before the colonial period, payments were never made in coins. Transactions were made using cauris, pearls, cattle, kola nuts, but also metals, including iron in particular. These primitive currencies were used in trade, social exchanges, for dowries in particular, but could also constitute objects of parade or throw weapons. In Sierra Leone, goods were assessed against iron bars called barriferri. The king generally controlled the production or delivery of the kingdom's currency. The variety of these metallic forms is wide, and these sometimes take on the ...


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180.00

Masque Bembe Elanda
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African art > African mask > Masque Bembe

This African mask was used during the tribal ritual of the male society Kalunga, Alunga, exercising social control over the clan, and responsible for public dances and pre-hunting ceremonies. A mask embodying the god Alunga, it has four large concave orbits with a conical pupil in relief. Between the orbits a circular opening is the mouth. Evocation of a spirit of the forest, this mask was preserved in sacred caves and it was during the festivals associated with hunting and the cults of ancestors that it was exhibited. Masks of the same type also appeared during the circumcision ceremonies of the Bwami . Patina polychrome mate.
The Bembe is a Luba branch line that is believed to have left Congo in the 18th century. Their society and artistic tendency are influenced by their ...


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Songye Fetish Statue
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African art > African Statues > Statue Songye

Fetishes in The African Art of Songye.Magic Sculpture named Nkisi , nkishi (pl. mankishi ), it is a protective fetish of the Songye, composed of a character perched on a hybrid being, horned, with a menacing face.  A large horn, in which magical elements ( bajimba) were introduced, was placed in the center of the tiara which it sports, among smaller elements of the same nature, one last one rising from its abdomen.  Other cavities on the statues could also hold apotropaic ingredients. The large digitized hands highlight the abdominal prominence, a witness to lineage. Wicker strips, firmly coiled, hold under the arms of the effigy of the sticks that allowed its transport. Brilliant patina, which is locally mative lying with sandy residue.
These home protection fetishes are among the ...


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African Colon Kongo
African art > African Statues > Colon

Wearing a colonial helmet, dressed in a suit with a clearly indicated fold of trousers, and wearing thick ankle boots, this character of 'colon' is represented in an assured attitude. An impression of vigour is rendered thanks to the narrowness of the waist contrasting with the extended shoulder span of the extended arms. The patina is matte, sandy, with residual kaolin inlays. Long desication crack in the back.
In the 13th century, the Kongo people, led by their king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads of the borders between present-day DRC, Angola and Gabon. Two centuries later, the Portuguese came into contact with the Kongo and converted their king to Christianity. Although monarchical, the Kongo political system had a democratic aspect because the king was actually ...


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350.00

Ngulu Chokwe Animal Mask
African art > African mask > Chokwe Mask

The Tschokwe, in African art, have a male association, mukanda, which makes use of some thirty African masks, made of wood, for various social purposes and related to the fores: the mask cikugu, the cihongo, pwo mask, kalelwa, cikunza, but also this type of animal mask of which there are variants, ngulu, bush pig or orycterope, which was worn on a basketry base. He was also added to coloured cotton fabrics and various small objects. This mask was danced by professionals moving from village to village, who mimicped inappropriate behavior, contrasting with the civilized attitude of Mwana pwo .
Ned brown and ochre matte and abraded. Lacks on the contours.
The Bantu-cultured Tschokwe had settled in eastern Angola, but also in Congo and Zambia. Following various alliances, they ...


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490.00

Zoomorphic mask Wé, Guéré
African art > African mask > Wé Mask

A mask of "frightene" embodying an ancestor, this object is endowed, for the Wé of southwestern Côte d'Ivoire, with a power enhanced by the accessories that accompany it. In this case, a beard composed of raffia, bells, fangs and horns, attached to a bulge of fabric highlighted by tubular pearl necklaces cast with a ritual ointment. The wide gaping jaw is hemmed in with a hardened cloth that holds a cord, giving the appearance of thick lips. The helmeted forehead, whose furrows with red pigments are covered with brass nails, is adorned with two zoomorphic circular ears. White kaolin residue, matte surface.
The Dan, to the north, and the southern Wé (including the Guéré, the Wobé of the northeast and the Wé of Liberia called Kran or Khran), made frequent borrowings due to their ...


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340.00

Yoruba Polychrome Maternity
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African art > African Maternity > Yoruba Polychrome Maternity

This female tribal altar art sculpture features a well-preserved polychromy. She is depicted sitting in a seat on a circular base. Facilitating communication with the sacred, it reminds the deity of its duties to men. Through the child she holds on her lap, she symbolizes the protection of her people and fertility. Wearing a high crest, she also wears the three deep keloids of the Yoruba nobles on each of the cheeks. The globular eyes, fleshy lips, are also distinctive markers of Yoruba tribal statuary. Her attire, necklace and bracelets, reflect her social rank.
Sensitable, a matte, grainy patina covers the wood, which is desiccized due to cracking.
The Yoruba engaged in the slave trade with the Europeans and in particular the Portuguese before being completely subsermissed ...

Kongo Nkisi figure
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African art > African Statues > Kongo figure

African art Kongo.
The bilongo elements conferring additional powers to this pair of nkisi statuettes are hidden in a reliquary that closes a cauri on the abdomen and in the back of their seat, sealed by a mirror. Additions of metal, in the form of fine tips, participate in this action defensive or offensive. The caps consist of animal skin on which remains a coat and a red cotton headband. The teeth are traditionally filed down and the trance glance, able to discern the hidden things, is expressed by pupils visible through splinters of glass. Satin patina encrusted with matte particles. The magical "bilongo" ingredients were frequently hidden in the receptacle on the abdomen of the figure which was otherwise sealed by a mirror. The Nganga wizards, both healers, were in charge of ...


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Agni Comian figure
African art > African Statues > Agni figure

Agni sculpture in African art
Work of a sculptor of the Agni ethnic group, a subgroup of the rich and famous Akan people present in Côte d'Ivoire and southern Ghana, this polychrome African statue, used by the fetishist, has body and facial scarifications. The eyebrow arches meet on the ridge of the nose. Supported by a ringed neck representing her necklaces, the imposing head is topped with braided shells. This statue provided communication with the spirits of ancestors and geniuses established in the supernatural world and belonged to the female Comians members of secret societies, endowed with occult gifts. Restoration on the base. The Portuguese came into contact with the Akan at the end of the 15th century and quickly settled in the coastal region to develop the trade in gold ...


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280.00

Oracle de divination Luba/Songye Katatora
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African art > African fetish > Oracle Katatora

Divinatory tool to communicate with ancestors. Incorporating the category of objects nkisi , nkishi , this sculpture was attributed to a secret power because it formed the receptacle of a spiritual energy. The Luba, like their neighbors Songye, use this type of objects related to the divination kashekesheke named katatora and lubuko. According to François Neyt, the object was carved from wood (kibekwasa ) with magical properties. During the interview, the ring was caught by the soothsayer and his client, who dragging it onto a mat or headrest in response to the questions asked (producing the sound of 'kashekesheke', 'extracting the truth'). The figurative motif here consists of a head with eyes encrusted with cured and capped with braids gathered backwards in hulls. Chocolate satin ...

Fetish statue Nkishi of Songye
African art > African fetish > Statue Songye

Angular volumes form this androgynous anthromorphic sculpture. Always intriguing by the diversity of their magical paraphernalia, the African fetishes mankishi (plu.) of Songye, specialists in the field. The summit horn, usually loaded with bishimba in which magic ingredients mingle, springs here in the center of the headdress. The various magical accessories, added by the ritualist named nganga , are made up of necklaces, inlays of upholstery nails, and ropes as loincloths. Each of them played a role in protecting themselves from witchcraft. Patine mate. Cracks.

The Songye came from the Shaba region of the DRC and settled along the Lualaba River in the middle of the savannah and forests. Their society is organized in a patriarchal way. Their history is inseparable from that ...


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480.00

Kasangala League Statues
African art > African Statues > League figurines

In the lega statuary, anthropomorphic sculptures with arms raised above the head would evoke, according to Cameron, the one who settled a dispute through his arbitration. These figures are named kasangala . The piece features a honey patina with kaolin inlays.
This type of tribal art statuette was kept in the basket of high-ranking officers of the Bwami, a secret society that admits men and their wives, and governs social life. This organization was subdivided into initiation stages, the highest being the Kindi. The statuettes were used as the aspirants were introduced, cleaned and oiled. Each has a particular aspect and meaning from which a moral or dogma always derives. The peculiarity of the Lega, unlike other ethnic groups, is also to judge the quality of their ritual objects ...


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280.00

Kuyu totemic figure in terracotta
African art > African Terracotta > Terracotta Kouyou

Legs joined, arms along the body devoid of feet, this figure represented seated was made of terracotta. It is decorated with many polychrome decorative motifs.
Two totemic clans once formed the Kuyu ethnic group, living along the river of the same name, in the northwest of the People's Republic of Congo: in the west that of the panther, and in the east that of the snake. A secret male association, Ottoté , played an important political role in the appointment of leaders. The initiation of the young men ended with the revelation of the serpent god Ebongo represented in the form of a head. The dances Kibe-kibe that accompanied the ceremony reactivated the successive stages of creation. The Panther clan had a drum as an emblem. For its part, the snake's had carved heads, painted in ...


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140.00

Masque Kumu, Komo, Nsembu
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African art > African mask > Masque Kumu

African mask named Nsembu , which performed in male-female pairs, it was used by the sorcerer's society Nkunda within the clans living in the north of the Uituri region. The surface is coated with a polychrome dotillage, an allusion to the animal world, and the color pigments that adorn the bodies during the initiation rites. Patine mate. Height on suitable base: 44 cm.

The Kumu , Bakumu, Komo, live mainly in the North-East and central Democratic Republic of Congo. Their Bantu language is komo or kikomo. Several ethnic groups are closely intertwined, with similar associations: the Mbole, the Yela, the Lengola, and the Metoko. Their artistic production also has great similarities with that of the Metoko and Lengola. Their divination masks were displayed during the closing ...


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Kasai Shoowa Velvet
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African art > African Textile > Textile Cuba

Belgian African tribal art collection.
African art and the refinement of Kuba weaving.
Products to Zaire by the Shoowa, Bashoowa, a subgroup Kuba , these fabrics forming real paintings of first art, consist of a textile base in raffia on which threads are cut to the brim, forming a velvet effect accentuated by the contrasts of tone. The geometric patterns formed represent the body scarifications of the ethnic group or the decorations of the sculptures. These refined fabrics were intended to be used at the royal court, as a seat or cover, to enhance its prestige. In many cases they took the value of money, or they also followed their owners into the grave by covering the body of the deceased. It was King Shamba Bolongongo who introduced the velvet weaving technique to Kuba ...


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Kasai Shoowa Velvet
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African art > African Textile > Textile Cuba

Belgian African tribal art collection.
African art and the refinement of Kuba weaving.
Products to Zaire by the Shoowa, Bashoowa, a subgroup Kuba , these fabrics forming real paintings of first art, consist of a textile base in raffia on which threads are cut to the brim, forming a velvet effect accentuated by the contrasts of tone. The geometric patterns formed represent the body scarifications of the ethnic group or the decorations of the sculptures. These refined fabrics were intended to be used at the royal court, as a seat or cover, to enhance its prestige. In many cases they took the value of money, or they also followed their owners into the grave by covering the body of the deceased. It was King Shamba Bolongongo who introduced the velvet weaving technique to Kuba ...


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Lobi Bateba Statues
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African art > African Statues > Lobi Bateba Statues

Knee, hands arranged on either side of his prominent abdomen, this Lobi statue has a face with a meditative and serene face. Eyelids closed in a head with naturalistic features. This ancient wooden effigy, the Bateba, was placed on the altar after a ritual to become the receptacle of a bush spirit, the Thil, and thus become an active, intermediate being that fights against sorcerers and other evil forces. When they are honoured, these spirits show their benevolence in the form of heavy rains, good health, numerous births; Ignored, they remove it and lead to devastating epidemics, drought and suffering.
These spirits pass on to the soothsayers the laws that followers must follow in order to receive their protection.
They are represented by wooden or copper sculptures called ...


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