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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.

Lobi figure in bronze
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Lobi bronze

Seated figures carrying containers. Velvety khaki patina. The populations of the same cultural region, grouped under the name "Lobi", make up one fifth of the inhabitants of Burkina Faso. Although they are not very numerous in Ghana, they have also settled in the north of the Ivory Coast. It was at the end of the eighteenth century that the Lobi , coming from northern Ghana, settled among the indigenous Thuna and Puguli, the Dagara , the Dian , the Gan and the Birifor . The Lobi believe in a creator God named Thangba Thu, to whom they turn through the worship of numerous intermediate spirits, the Thil, the latter being supposed to protect them, with the help of the diviner, against a host of plagues. Geniuses of the bush, red-haired beings called Kontuor , are moreover supposed to ...


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Lobi couple figures in bronze
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Lobi bronze

Figurative couple seated, quenching their thirst. Velvety gray patina. The populations of the same cultural region, grouped under the name "Lobi", make up one fifth of the inhabitants of Burkina Faso. Although they are not very numerous in Ghana, they have also settled in the north of the Ivory Coast. It was at the end of the eighteenth century that the Lobi , coming from northern Ghana, settled among the indigenous Thuna and Puguli, the Dagara , the Dian , the Gan and the Birifor . The Lobi believe in a creator God named Thangba Thu, to whom they turn through the worship of numerous intermediate spirits, the Thil, the latter being supposed to protect them, with the help of the diviner, against a host of plagues. Geniuses of the bush, red-haired beings called Kontuor , are ...


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Dogon statue
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Dogon statue

An ogival head with a blind, striated face, a neck imprisoned in angular excrescences, shoulders and hips in the shape of a disc overhanging compacted, rounded legs, these elements combine to compose this Dogon sculpture.
Velvety matt patina, cracks and slight abrasions. Carved for the most part on commission by a family and in this case arranged on the family altar Tiré Kabou, the Dogon tribal statues can also be the object of worship by the entire community when they commemorate, for example, the founding of the village. These statues, sometimes embodying the nyama of the deceased, are placed on ancestor altars and participate in various rituals including those of the seed and harvest periods. Their functions, however, remain little known. In parallel with Islam, Dogon ...


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Dogon couple figures
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statues Dogon

Ex.belgian African art collectionr-These mythical protective figures no doubt evoke the primordial couple, associated with the Nommos , at the origin of the dogon creation. Ovoid heads whose nasal ridge joins the crest rest on discoid chin straps. The volume of the body sculpted into a block is presented in sharp, stylized planes, arms attached to the bust, an umbilical protrusion affirming lineage, and semi-flexed legs seeming to sink into a circular base. Dry crusty skate. Cracks in desications. Mostly custom-carved by a family, Dogon statues can also be worshipped by the entire community when they commemorate, for example, the founding of the village. However, their functions remain little known. Parallel to Islam, dogon religious rites are organized around four main cults: the Lebe, ...


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Tabwa neck rest and pipe
African art > Head rest > Tabwa pipe

Fascinating double-purpose object, this figurative headrest is supported by caryatid elements ingeniously acting as a pipe. Indeed, the horn inserted in the animal motif composes the mouthpiece of the pipe, the smoke having to escape through the hole made in the head of the carved character. Patina of use, small accidents. The Tabwa ("to scarify" and "to write") constitute an ethnic group present in the South-East of the DRC, around Lake Tanganyika. The tribes of this region, such as the Tumbwe, worship the Mipasi ancestors through sculptures held by chiefs or sorcerers. A magical charge (dawa) was frequently placed at the top of the head of the statues. The diviners-healers used this type of object to reveal sorcery and protect against malevolent spirits. The Tabwa were simple ...


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320.00

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

The Luba are renowned for their statuary and in particular their neck rests and stools consisting of a caryatid figure and sometimes an animal motif, the antelope in this case.
In this case it is a female figure, incarnation of royalty and the spirit of the ancestors, riding the animal. The antelope horns were also used, loaded with magical ingredients, in therapeutic rites.
The horn rests were also used to support the heads of the deceased, and sometimes, according to Albert Maesen, buried in their place. 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, hence the name (Baluba, which means "the Lubas"). They were born from a secession of the Songhoy ethnic group, ...


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150.00

Songola Nsindi mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Sognola mask

Ex-German African art collection.
This African mask, was attributed to the executioner and intended for the highest ranks of the Nsubi society, consisting of four levels and open to wives. This mask borrows some features from the Kumu and Mbole masks.
Shaded crusty patina.
Mixed by marriage with the Lega, Ngengele and Zimba, the Songola are governed by the elders of the lineages. They borrowed from the Luba and Songye the Luhuna institution composed of dignitaries and that of the Bwami by their lega wives. The Songola live by hunting and fishing, they engage in sculpture although the objects associated with the Bwami cult come from the Lega. Among their reduced statuary, the figures of ancestors of the Nsubi society evoke those of the Mbole, other sculptures were ...


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150.00

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

Ex Belgian African art collection This African mask Songye, the kikashi, embodies a positive force. The half-closed palpebral slits are stretched toward the temples, with the nose and mouth projecting rectangularly. The flat nasal-frontal ridge indicates that this is a female mask. Parallel striations are etched into the white-pigmented surface.
Three variants of this Kifwebe (pl. Bifwebe) or "death chaser" mask (Roberts), from the society of the same name, can be distinguished: the masculine (kilume) generally with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low or even absent crest, and finally the largest embodying power (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still used today, seems to come from the border area between the Northern Luba and the Songye of the Southeast. They are ...


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Kwéré calabash container
African art > Jars, amphoras, pots, matakam > Kwéré calabash

The round carved cap of this vessel shows a Kwere woman wearing a double sagittal crest. The eyes are inlaid with pearls, giving a piercing look. The attitude refers to fertility. Velvety patina.
The Zaramo and the tribes that surround them, such as the Kwere, have designed dolls that are generally associated with fertility, but to which other virtues are attributed. Its primary role is played during the period of seclusion of the young Zaramo initiate. The novice will behave towards the object as she would towards a child, and will dance with it during the closing ceremonies of the initiation. In the event that the young woman does not conceive, she will adopt the "child. Among the Zaramo and Kwere, this carved motif is repeated at the top of canes, decorates ritual objects ...


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290.00

Couple of Makonde dolls
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Makonde dolls

Prolific African art of the Makonde Doll statuettes with realistic faces and sketchy stylized bodies, featuring traditional tattoos, which were traced with beeswax. The scarified patterns were also printed for aesthetic purposes. The female ancestor refers to the creation in which the first Makonde man is said to have carved a female image that became the mother of his children and has been venerated ever since. Glossy patina, burgundy brown. The Makonde, a matrilineal Bantu population of northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania, wore helmet-masks called lipiko, mapiko, during initiation ceremonies for young men. The Makonde venerate an ancestor , which explains the abundance of relatively naturalistic female statuary. In addition to facial masks, midimu , the Makonde also ...


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480.00

Gouro, Guro, Kono loom pulley
African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Gouro Pulley

Aesthetics of everyday life for African art from the Ivory Coast. The angular stirrup, decorated with geometric motifs, is surmounted by a character holding his long beard. The protruding joints, rendered in a very realistic manner, are masterfully carved.
The figurative motifs of these pulleys are very diverse: cephalomorphic or zoomorphic among the Baule and Gouro, while the Senufo frequently decorated them with hornbill figures. Dark brown granular patina.
In Ivory Coast, the most ordinary objects had to meet aesthetic criteria. Furniture, ornaments, utensils, fabrics, are a pretext for refined artistic expression on the part of sculptors. The technique of cotton weaving spread to West Africa thanks to the movements of the Dioulas. Before colonization, ...


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120.00

Senoufo du Poro Kraamkliniek
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Senufo statuette

This statuette of maternity, a female effigy seated on a stool, breastfeeding her child, is represented with braids assembled in a stylized pattern. This sculpted scene generally symbolizes the initiate feeding on the knowledge of the mother goddess. Irregular blackish patina, satin, erosions.
The Senufos , a name given to them by the French colonists, are mostly composed of farmers who are scattered between Mali, the Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso. Councils of elders, led by an elected chief, administer the Senufo villages. Governed by matrilineal traditions, they are composed of clusters of dwellings named katiolo .
At the time of the death of one of the members of the Poro initiation society, statues named pombibele were exhibited. Although exclusively male, the Poro ...


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130.00

Bobo Hippotrague helmet mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bobo mask

Animal masks from Burkina Faso This helmet mask of imposing dimensions embodies a large West African antelope, the hippotrague, the high ringed horns tilted back. Smooth polychrome patina. The Bobo Fing are a Mandingo people, most of whom live in eastern Burkina Faso, but also in southern Mali. Their culture is similar to that of the Bambara. They are organized in lineages led by councils of elders. In each village altars are erected under the authority of blacksmiths, priests of the Dwo cult, but the Bobo also venerate secondary spirits and those of the ancestors. In addition to objects carved from wood, they also make masks from fiber sheets to wear during ceremonies in order to establish a relationship with the spiritual world. The most important wooden masks are the sacred ...

Fang Ngil mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang mask

Ex-collection African tribal art French.
The fang masks, generally coated with kaolin (the white color evokes the power of the ancestors), intervened in the middle of the night, their appearance arousing fright. They were used by the male society ngil which no longer exists today. This secret society was in charge of initiations and fought against witchcraft. The ngil consisted of a purifying fire rite symbolized by the gorilla. Two-tone matte and velvety patina. Abrasions.
The Fang, formerly called Pahouin, are divided into several subsets in three countries, Cameroon, Gabn, and the mainland of Equatorial Guinea. Mainly hunters, they also practice agriculture. The wearers of these masks, always in large numbers, made their appearance at night, lit by torches. Their ...


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280.00

Neck support Kambaata Ethiopia
African art > Head rest > Yagertera neck support

Ex-collection African art from Belgium.
Among the elements of traditional furniture from East Africa, this type of African neckrest resting on an openwork base of columns. Its refined forms, striated with parallel lines, give it, although from the traditional African art, a contemporary design.
More than eighty ethnic groups in Ethiopia have produced various neck rests for individual use named yagerteras, or "pillows of my country" or "Boraati" ("tomorrow you").
Over time, the realization becoming more complex until becoming real small masterpieces of sculpture, they also became individual objects of prestige and power, placed on family or collective altars. These objects were initially intended to protect the elaborate hairstyles of their owner (man or woman) ...


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140.00

Pilon de divination Luba Kalundwe Lubuko
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African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Pilon Luba

The soothsayers of the western part of the Luba Empire used drumsticks to crush the kaolin mpemba stined at divination ceremonies. This cephalomorphic sculpture called lubuko features finely sculpted features under a shaving forehead and a hairstyle composed of multiple buns. The lower end forming a wider base is wrapped in skin surrounded by copper wire. Patina lustrous by gripping. Desication cracks.
The cups mboko, gourds containing the kaolin whose face of the soothsayer and initiates was coated, formed an image of purity and the spiritual world. These containers were used by different Luba societies, and groups of prophets, more generally by the psychics of the divination society Kilumbu, Bilumbu, or by the healers of the society Buhabo. The soothsayers Mbudye and the ...

Luba Shankadi royal caryatid cup
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African art > Jars, amphoras, pots, matakam > Luba cup

The figure acting as a caryatid here adopts an unusual posture revealing the most intimate parts of a very detailed anatomy. According to P. Nooter these figures represented the diviner's wife, emphasizing her importance in the process of divination bilumbu. She supports the mboko cup, a calabash that was filled with kaolin, symbolizing purity and the spiritual world, and with which the king's visitors smeared themselves out of respect.
The antelope unfolding at the top also forms a recurring symbolic motif in Luba iconography. Abrasions and desiccation cracks. Matt patina, residual inlays.

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 ...

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

The tribal art of Africa proves to us once again that any common object can become an artistic medium. The major role held by women in the political life of the kingdom is illustrated by the recurrence of the female motif in Luba art. The latter, which stood out for its prestige and quality, also influenced neighboring groups.
A figure of an ancestor forms the handle of this comb divided into six teeth.
The effigy is depicted sitting with a straight back, belly bulging forward. The hands rest on either side of the umbilicus, a symbolic gesture associated with the Luba lineage. The figure has a headdress pulled back, a reference to the elaborate quadrifoliate headdresses of dignitaries. Brown patina, satin highlights.


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Zaramo Kwéré Mwana Hiti doll
African art > African Dolls > Zaramo doll

The silhouette of the African dolls of the Zaramo and Kwéré is recurrent, a stylized human form, topped with a double or single crest surmounting a tubular bust without arms where the breasts and umbilicus are indicated by a slight relief. The use of pearls is also frequent in the ornamentation of Zaramo statuary. Lustrous patina of use. Cracking
The Zaramo and the tribes that surround them, such as the Kwéré and the Doé, have designed dolls generally associated with fertility, but to which other virtues are attributed. Its primary role is played during the period of seclusion of the young Zaramo initiate. The novice will behave towards the object as she would towards a child, and will dance with it during the closing ceremonies of the initiation. In the event that the ...


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240.00

Gelede crest mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Masque articulated

Ex-collection French African art.
This Bright Yellow Painted African Mask is shaped like a crest with raffia twigs. It was worn with a contours costume eroded at the base. The Gelede cult has become a contemporary heritage, based on ancestral traditions: the 'href'U'0022https://ich.unesco.org/en/RL/the-heritage-oral-gelede-00002"-Unesco has enrolled it in the PCI (Immaterial Cultural Heritage of humanity) in 2008 .
Regarding the ceremonies of the 'a href'"https://ich.unesco.org/en/RL/le-patrimoine-oral-gelede-00002"- Gelede , practiced mainly in the Western Yoruba kingdoms, masks are built on the same principle: a face (of the type mask-heaum) and a scene that develops on the top of the mask. These are used as part of masquerades dedicated to the "Mother Supreme " Iya ...


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Paré Horn
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African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Paré Horn

Ex-collection of French African tribal art. This horn, which is sealed with a wooden cephalomorphic stopper, must have contained ingredients with a magical purpose. The end of the horn is wrapped in a natural fiber mesh with an opening to slide the stopper.
This ritual object comes from the northeastern region of Tanzania, bordering Kenya, facing the Indian Ocean, where the Paré , Shamba, Zigua, and Mbugu tribes live. A relative homogeneity characterizes the productions of these groups, recalling some of the Malagasy and Batak with whom, via maritime trade, contact could once have been established.


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