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African art - African mask, tribal art, primitive art:

The African mask is without question and with force, what it represents, what it embodies. It can be an ancestor, a spirit, etc. .... This is the reason why African masks are treated like humans, they are fed with offerings, they have personal sanctuaries. Most African masks are made to dance. Fang, Punu, Baule, Lega, monochrome or polychrome, zoomorphic, anthropomorphic or even hybrid, coated with kaolin, raw or with a sacrificial patina, they are linked to ritual cults, with various functions (agriculture, initiation, funerals, enthronement etc...). Some have a social, legal, police or peacemaking role.


Idoma dance crest
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Idoma crest

There is a wide variety of traditional African masks that the Idoma wear as crests. Linear barred scarification runs across the face of this mask topped with braids, some of which rise in scrolls at the top. This horned headdress is said to be called ochobo and is related to the osobo dance. The head formed the upper part of a crest mask of the same type as the ungulali masks. A two-tone patina adorns the mask, enhancing the visual impact. Metal teeth are inlaid in the mouth.
The Idoma live at the confluence of the Benue and Niger rivers. Numbering 500,000, they are farmers and traders. Igbo, Cross River and Igala influences are found in their art and customs and it is often difficult to distinguish them from their neighbors. Okua masks are worn among the southern Idoma during ...


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280.00

Dan Gunyeya "racing" mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Dan mask

An actor of social order, the African Dan mask would, according to Eberhard Fisher, be of the feminine or masculine type. The almond-shaped face, with harmonious features, is pierced by large circular eyes trimmed with metal. Smooth grayish brown patina.
The masks equipped with round orbits ( named gunyeya or gunye ge), facilitating vision, are part of the mask set of the Northern Dan and are used for racing events during the dry season. As for the zapkei ge , equipped with a gaze highlighted with red textile pierced with circular orbits, they are responsible for preventing fires by watching over domestic fires. They are worn accessorized with caps, braids, textile cape and raffia, the most prestigious of them being the go ge , royal mask reserved for exceptional events. The ...


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100.00

Masque Dan Déangle
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Ivory Coast Mask

For the Dan, or Yacuba, living in western Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia, the "d-" force that would animate the world would manifest itself in sculpted masks. This is how she seeks to bring knowledge to man in order to support him, and uses the channel of dreams beforehand. The spirits then indicate how to name the mask they wish to see made. These masks of different types have social, spiritual and political functions, often evolving over time. Mask with regular features, whose losangic mouth evoking luscious lips forms a constant of masks dan, and whose split eyes belong to the type deanglé . Here it is decorated with a thick trimming of braided raffia, and rows of cauris arranged in decorative motif in the center of the skull. A bulge of curved fabric also the headdress. Dark, sained ...


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Baoule, Baule, Ndoma mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Baule mask

Collection of French African art.
This African mascotBaoulé, a sculpture called portrait mascot or Ndoma, has a braided hairstyle gathered in shells. The placid physiognomy of the face, with half-open bulbous pupils, is raised by the scarifications named "ngole". Satin patina.
These Baule portrait masks, 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, according to the regions, bedwo, ngblo, mblo, adjussu, etc.... Each of these masks are distinguished by hairstyles, placement and choice of scarification. They perform during danced events accompanied by music and songs, celebrations, visits of ...


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280.00

Guéré/Bété Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Guere Mask

Ex-collection French African tribal art.

African mask from Ivory Coast supposed to provoke fear, it is distinguished by side hooks, exposed metal teeth, and a forehead similar to a helmet. It also has a long horsehair moustache imprisoned in a resinous mass. Polychrome crusty patina. It is mainly in the west of the Ivory Coast that the Bété use masks related to the cult of the bagnon . The style of their dance masks has been influenced by the Wobe and Guéré populations, a group called Wé or "men who forgive easily", itself belonging to the Krou cultural group, these traditions having been transmitted and taught to them by the Nyabwa. Of warrior origin but also involved in conflict resolution, this sacred mask is worn accompanied by amulets that protect its wearer from ...


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Masque heaume Pende Kipoko, Giphogo
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Pende Mask

A village mask of the Eastern Pende and not of male association, the Kipoko mask (also named Mukishi wa Mutsue or Mbundju ) is a chief's mask associated with joy and thanksgiving. It is further used to close initiation ceremonies: each young initiate having to swallow a food item placed on Kipoko's circular chin strap while holding it by the ears.("Pende", Strother) Two-tone satin patina.
The Western Pende live on the banks of the Kwilu River, while the Eastern have settled on the banks of the Kasai River below 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, ...

Dan Zapkei mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Dan mask

The African masks dan zapkei ge are responsible for preventing fires by watching over domestic fires. They are worn accessorized with caps, braids, textile cape and raffia, the most prestigious of them being the go ge , royal mask reserved for exceptional events. This sober example is embellished with a braided hairstyle, whose two braids frame the face. The thin face has protruding lips. Smooth, velvety patina, coated with clay.
For the Dan, or Yacouba, living in the west of the Ivory Coast and in Liberia, the "dü" force that animates the world manifests itself in the sculpted masks. It is in this way that it seeks to bring knowledge to man in order to give him support, and uses the channel of dreams beforehand. The spirits then indicate how to name the mask they wish to ...


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Alunga Bembe masker
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bembe masker

High concave orbits where a cross is drawn symbolizing the cardinal points make up this African mask this African mask topped with horns. The raffia or papyrus ornament, now missing, was attached to the perforations in the contours.
This African mask Ibulu lya 'alunga (head of the alunga) was used during the tribal ritual of the male society Alunga, exercising social control over the clan, and responsible for public dances and ceremonies preceding the hunt.
Evocation of a forest spirit, this tribal mask was kept in sacred caves and it was during the festivals associated with the hunt and ancestor cults that it was displayed. They also appeared during Bwami circumcision ceremonies. Dark satin patina.
The Bembe ethnic group is a Luba offshoot that is said to ...


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Goli s Kplé Kplé Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Kplé Kplé Mask

This circular African mask, says Junior, has a crenellated border, with hollowed-out eyes topped with protruding conical pupils, it has a rectangular mouth in which was chiseled a teeth, in reference to the traditional image of teeth among young people. Reduced animal ears are shown on the rounded horns. The female kplekple mask, according to some authors (African Barbier-Mueller Masks, p.116) is said to be red. Vogel Baule) however indicates that in the Baoulé version of the Goli the male mask is painted red, and the feminine in black. It is likely that this allocation varies from village to village. Metal inlays.
Dedicating the manifestation of a series of family masks Goli, this circular mask with rounded horns evoking the antelope, is considered in some cases as a male mask, ...


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

Rituals of justice and African Fang masks.
A rib borders the eye sockets in the heart of this mask, extending to the rectangular, toothed mouth. The eyelids are hatched, accentuating the severity of the features.
Native restoration at the top using aluminum foil.

Dense wood, abraded dry patina. Desiccation cracks, erosions.
The appearance of these masks coated with kaolin (the white color evokes the power of ancestors), in the middle of the night, could cause fear. This type of mask was used by ngil male society in northwest Gabon, southern Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea. This secret society was responsible for initiations and fought against witchcraft. The ngil was a rite of purifying fire symbolized by the gorilla. The wearers of these ...


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390.00

Djimini mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Djimini mask

African masks and the Muslim influence
Established in Côte d'Ivoire, but also in Ghana, the Ligbi , Islamized, have however been influenced by the Senoufo tribal sculpture, since they commissioned Senoufo or Mandé to sculpt their masks. The Djimini , on the other hand, are Senoufo living in the Dabakala region. For this reason, their masks related to the do society whose dances were generally supervised by the Ligbi are imbued with these reciprocal influences. This masked tradition has been preserved to manifest itself during the religious festivities of aïd-el-fitr and Aïd el Kébir (feast of the sheep) accompanied by sacrifices and songs, and symbolizing in this way the breaking of the fast. Just before the festivities, if necessary, the mask will be repainted and thus coated ...


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Mbunda Samahongo mask Zambia
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Mbunda mask

In Zambia, masked traditions include a series of specific masks distinguished by their character, behavior, and physiognomy. Among the Chokwe, Luvale, Lunda, Luchasi and Mbunda of Zambia they are named makishi , (sing. likishi ), while in Angola and the D.R.C. they are known as makishi (sing. mukishi ). The sculptor will not name the mask and its costume as such, but rather "the head", and "the body" to define the masked entity. The dancer, embodying the ancestral spirit, will not be held responsible for his or her actions during the masked events. The Samahongo would embody a diviner, and would appear during the male initiations of the mukanda. The triple-arched eyebrows, or wrinkles, and filed teeth, form a specificity of the mbunda masks, indicating a threatening character. ...

Lega Idimu Mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lega Mask

Spherical mask notched with horizontal eye sockets and a short, upturned-tipped nose. The circular pupils and the incised mouth compose the most elementary features.
Grainy matte patina.
Within the Léga, 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 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also called Warega, these individuals live in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades, usually on top of hills. The role of chief, kindi, is held by the oldest man in the clan, who must be the highest ranking. As in other forest tribes, men hunt and clear while women cultivate cassava. ...


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190.00

Chamba Nam Gbalang Crest Mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Chamba Mask

The Nam Gbalang or Lang Badna mask is a powerful symbol of a cult dedicated to a protective genius.

He appears during the rites of passage of the Kaa festival and at the funerals of high-ranking officers.
It is likened to buffalo; it represents the wild spirit of the bush with all its powers and dangerousness.
On some authors he would represent a queen whose chamba lineage claims to descend from the buffalo of the forests.
The rounded dome of the mask refers to death because it depicts a skull, a relic taken from the tomb of an ancient.

The other characteristics are related to the wild world of nature, so the machore that seems toothed symbolizes the crocodile, while the horns, parallel on this copy, would be related to the animals of the forest. ...


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Guro Gyela lu Zaouli mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Gouro mask

A female face, lacquered in a bright red and topped with striated shells is surmounted by a sculpted animal motif.
Polychrome patina.
Among the Mande group from the south, in central Côte d'Ivoire, the Gouro have been using a family of African masks associated with dance since the 1950s. Zaouli . Indeed, like the Goli masks of the Baoulé, all of the Guro masks are available in two zoomorphic masks followed by a third anthropomorphic, which is considered to be the wife of the zamblé mask, the Gu . The Gu , whose function is apotropaic, represents a young woman endowed with the beauty criteria specific to the Guro, in particular facial scars and filed teeth. It is while singing in honor of the zamblé that the Gu moves gracefully, following the sound of the ...


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240.00

Galoa Okuyi, Okukwé mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Okuyi mask

A later version of the Okukwe, this ovoid mask has features raised with dark pigments and a large horizontal mark. It is a judicial mask of the Okukwe society, worn for funerals, the birth of twins, or other important events. Abraded patina. Cracks and erosions. Height on base: 40 cm.
The Galoa (or Galwa), subgroup Pounou , live downstream from Lambaréné on the Ogooué River, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. They are called "the people of the lake". They produced masks named Okouyi , Okukwé , used by initiatory societies to reveal witchcraft and their authors through divination. Several neighboring ethnic groups, including the Adouma and the Kota, use contrasting flat colors in Gabon, including kaolin that is supposed to have apotropaic properties. The Gabonese groups ...


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Lega Bwami mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lega mask

A thick crust of white pigments surrounds the eyelids of the lega mask opposite. In the center of the ovoid jaw, a rectangular mouth is drawn. Fine pierced ears frame the face. Raffia beard still present.
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 in the DRC. Also called Warega , these individuals live in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades, usually on hilltops. The role of chief, kindi, is held by the oldest man in the clan, who must be the highest ranking. As in other forest tribes, the men hunt and clear land while ...


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190.00

Masque League Idumu
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Masque League

Sculpted in the heart in the center of the ovoid volume of this African lega mask, the eyebrow arches join a small mouth that seems to emit a breath, calling for the secrecy of the initiates. A raffia beard extends the jaw. Glossy surface revealing the veining of the wood. This African Lega mask indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society composed of different ranks, and which were joined by wives whose spousehad reached the third level, that of the ngandu . Mask with beard: 40 cmWithin the Lega, the society of the Bwami 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 in the 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the ...


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Markha Face Mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Warka mask

A narrow face with a protruding mouth and a rectangular ridge for the nose, a forehead and a headdress forming a helmet, this copper-plated mask is a specific feature of marka sculptures. Matte smooth patina.
In African art, the Marka , Maraka in Bamana, Warka , or Sarakolé, are Muslim city dwellers of Soninke origin, established in the south of Niger, scattered since the end of the Ghana empire in Mali, Mauritania and Senegal . They now speak Bamana and have adopted much of the Bambara traditions, such as Ntomo and Koré , initiation societies that used masks during their ceremonies. The African art sculptors Bambara and Marka are part of the Numuw , who are not linked to an ethnic group and are free to settle wherever they wish.


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Teke Tsaayi Kidumu mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Teke mask

Ex-Belgian African art collection. The pictograms of the African Téké masks from Gabon insist on oppositions symbolizing the duality in the universe: their surface is embellished with geometric patterns painted with polychrome pigments. In addition to lunar symbolism, these pictograms refer to regional body scarifications. It is a plank mask that the wearer held between the teeth using a braided ribbon. The perforations were used to attach feathers and fibers which perfected the harmony of the costume. Matt patina, slight accidents. Only the Tsaayi, among the Téké subgroups of Gabon, produced wooden masks from the mid-20th century. They were used by members of the secret male kidumu brotherhood (kidumu is the name of the society, the dance, and the mask), at the funerals of village ...


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Punu Okuyi mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Punu mask

The white masks of Gabon, itengi , (pl. Bitengi) are generally distinguished by their shell hairstyle and checkerboard scarifications, mabinda , tinted with red ocher. These marks, here linear, are attributed to the Tsengi and Ndzébi of the Punu-Bakaya region. A chin strap enhances the contours of the face.
Abraded matte patina.
In the first art, this tribal mask from Gabon was associated with the various secret societies of Gabon, including the Bwiti , Bwete , and the Mwiri ("lead"), the latter spreading over several levels of initiation, to which all Punu men belonged, and whose emblem was the caiman. The punu did not involve any mask in the rituals of Bwiti, unlike the Tsogo. These powerful secret societies, which also had a judicial function, featured ...


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