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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.


Igbo mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Igbo mask

African art and the spectacular crest masks of the Igbo ethnic group.
African Igbo mask Agbogo Mmwo, called a young girl's mask, adopting the traditional criteria glorifying youth and beauty, slanted eyes, emaciated face coated in white, scarifications and tattoos in checkerboard or ornamental patches. The hairstyle represents braided hair mixed with accessories. The white color of the mask relates to ancestral spirits, these masks frequently accompanying the deceased during funeral rites. Indeed, mmwo means "spirit of the dead". Crusty matte patina, very good condition.
The Igbo live in the forest in southeastern Nigeria. They managed to combine a deep sense of individuality with an equally strong sense of belonging to the group. Their political system is ...


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Koulango Mask
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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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Koulango mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Koulango mask

This African mask, a sculpted face surmounted by a tiara hairstyle, belongs to the Dô society within which the clan chiefs organize ritual sacrifices.
It is named Singinkuru-Ayna among the Ligbi who have preserved certain animist traditions within the Dô society, the latter possibly being a remanence of the Poro practiced among the Senoufo.
Glossy patina, polychrome highlights.
Very slight cracks.
Named Pakhalla by the Dioula, the Koulango formed the Loron in the Voltaic territory. The Dagomba chiefs of the kingdom of Bouna would then have referred to them as "Koulam" (singular: koulango, subject, vassal). Their complex history has spawned an equally complex culture. It is between Burkina Faso and Comoé, in the northeast of Côte d'Ivoire, that their ...


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Suku Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Suku Mask

This mask is associated with circumcision ceremonies. At the top, a zoomorphic figure is referring to the qualities of the animal. These bleached masks topped with an animal are named hemba ch the Suku. The abraded matte patina hints at remnants of kaolin. Desication cracks.
The ethnic groups Suku in southwestern Zaire, and the Yaka, which are very close geographically, have the same common origins and social structure as well as similar cultural practices. They can only be differentiated by their stylistic variations. The mukanda is the name given to all the rites around the initiation ceremony of young puberty, dedicating the end of childhood and shared by many communities. This youth initiation society, n-khanda, or mukanda , which can be found in Kongo orentaux (Chokwe, Luba, ...


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Pende Mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Pende Mask

The African masks of "illness", Pende Mbangu (deformed mouth) or Bwala-Bwala, illustrate, by their outraged features, the patient in epilepsy crisis or the result of facial paralysis caused by witchcraft rituals. The dancer who wears this comedy mask is wearing a feathered hat made of gifuatu of guinea fowl, coucal or touraco, or of lumbandu, a crown of leaves. It is also often equipped with a bump on the back, exaggerating the handicapped aspect of the character. This mask of the Pende established in the Upper Kwango is distinguished by its bent nose and a deformed mouth. It is divided into areas of contrasting colors. Semi-matt patina.
The Western Pende live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the Easterners settled on the banks of the Kasai downstream from Tshikapa. The ...


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Pende Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Pende Mask

Deformity in tribal art The Pende Mbangu "sickness" masks illustrate, by their deformed features, the patient in epileptic seizure or the result of facial paralysis caused by witchcraft rituals. In many tribal cultures, however, epilepsy is seen as a divine seal on an individual who is able to communicate with the spiritual world in this way. The dancer who wears this comedy mask wears a hat made of feathers gifuatu of guinea fowl, coucal or touraco, or the lumbandu , a crown of leaves. It is also often equipped with a hump on the back, exaggerating then the handicapped appearance of the character. A hat composed of a basketry frame trimmed with raffia caps the face, itself lined with canvas. Matt patina. Height on base: 31 cm. br> The Western Pende live on the banks of ...


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Zimba mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Zimba mask

Mask whose rather flat center bears circular patterns referring to the body patterns of the Zimba. The long nose bridge meets at the top a ridged outline also associated with tribal markings. Characterized by great softness, this sober mask is lined with a raffia adornment. This type of mask was used in rites of an association equivalent to the Bwami of the Lega.
The Zimba, also called Binja, are close neighbors of the Lega of the Pangi and Shabunda region in the DRC. Subject to Lega influence, they share some institutional similarities with the Lega and the Luba. Whether they live in the forest or the savannah, the symbolism of their art and the rituals are associated with hunting which is of major importance. On the other hand, there are patrilineal groups which have ended up ...


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Lengola mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lengola mask

This handle mask is probably a work of the Lengola originating from Uganda and living near the Metoko in the center of the Congolese basin between the Lomami and Lualaba rivers, people of the primary forest dedicated to the worship of a God unique, rare monotheism in Africa. This type of mask characteristic of the Maniéma region was brandished by the dancer during ceremonies.
Besides the Lilwa society, their society, the Bukota, welcoming both men and women, is a version of the association Bwami of the Lega. Their sculptures, subject to the influence of the neighboring Mbole, Lega and Binja, played a role during initiation, funeral or circumcision ceremonies, and were then placed on the tomb of high-ranking initiates. Each of these figures had a name and a meaning for educational ...


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Tschokwe mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Tschokwe mask

A companion to the African Pwo mask, always worn by dancers of royal descent, this mask is also used during initiation rites in the mukanda society. A very realistic hair ornament, made of human hair and raffia fibers, bordered by a beaded necklace, highlights delicately carved features. The sacred Chihongo mask ( chihongo also being a plant with therapeutic virtues) , endowed with a wide grinning mouth , is used during circumcision rites and royal ceremonies. The characteristic patterns present on the forehead, and sometimes on the cheekbones, are part of the Chokwe aesthetic canons but also served as public markers of ethnic identity, such as the chingelyengelye cross.
Peacefully settled in eastern Angola until the sixteenth century, the Chokwe were then subjected to the ...


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Tschokwe Mask
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Tschokwe Mask

Among the many African masks akishi (sing: mukishi, indicating power) of African tribal art Chokwe, the powerful male counterpart of the Mwana Pwo mask is the cihongo . These masks are danced by itinerant professionals. The characteristic motifs on the forehead, and sometimes on the cheekbones, are part of the chokwe aesthetic canons but also served as public markers of ethnic identity. This recurrent cruciform frontal pattern would also have a cosmogonic significance. Always worn by dancers of royal blood, this mask embodying a spirit symbolizes power and wealth. He also intervened, at times, on occasion judgments. Semi-saturated brown patina, small shards. Height on a base: 30 cm.
The masks of the Chokwe, Luda, Luvale/Lwena, Luchazi and Mbunda clans are named in Zambia as ...


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Tschokwe Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Tschokwe Mask

br>In the many African masks akishi (sing: mukishi, indicating power) of African tribal art Chokwe, the powerful male counterpart of the Mwana Pwo mask is the cihongo . These masks are danced by itinerant professionals. The characteristic motifs on the forehead, and sometimes on the cheekbones, are part of the chokwe aesthetic canons but also served as public markers of ethnic identity. This recurrent cruciform frontal pattern would also have a cosmogonic significance. Always worn by dancers of royal blood, this mask embodying a spirit symbolizes power and wealth. He also intervened, at times, on occasion judgments. Dark patina maten, abrasions and cracks of desication.
The masks of the Chokwe, Luda, Luvale/Lwena, Luchazi and Mbunda clans are named in Zambia as 'makishi' (sing. ...


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

The masks equipped with round orbits (named gunyeya or gunye ge), facilitating vision, are part of the set of Dan masks north and are used for racing events during the dry season.
The zapkei ge


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Luba Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Luba Mask

This African mask featuring a bird (probably a wild guinea fowl, a symbol of fertility) was worn in the company of a circular kifwebe mask accessorized with a voluminous raffia collar that concealed the dancer. These masks were performed during various traditions: investitures, funerals, and rites against witchcraft among the various initiatory societies. In the eastern part of the Luba region, important ceremonies are held in honor of the clan's ancestors, deceased chiefs, and the new moon. They had some zoomorphic masks associated with the kifwebe dance. They performed during the ritual ceremonies of the kazanzi society, responsible for fighting witchcraft. Offerings are then made to the nature spirits, intermediaries between the group and the ancestors. Matt patina. Desiccation ...


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

This African kifwebe (pl.bifwebe) mask,adorned with striations, depicting a nocturnal raptor appeared in the company of a circular kifwebe mask equipped with a voluminous raffia collar hiding the dancer. The owl symbolizes magic among the Luba.
These masks were performed during different traditions: investitures, funerals, and rites against witchcraft among the different initiatory societies. In the eastern part of the Luba region, important ceremonies are held in honor of the clan's ancestors, deceased chiefs, and the new moon. They did indeed have some zoomorphic masks associated with the kifwebe dance. They performed during the ritual ceremonies of the kazanzi society, responsible for fighting witchcraft. Offerings are then made to the spirits of nature, intermediaries ...


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

French African art collection
African mask Baoulé, for entertainment, which can therefore, according to the Baule tradition, be seen by women. This sculpture of African art has a dark patina. The hairstyle is formed of buns braided in shells. These Baoulé portrait masks, ndoma, which are part of one of the oldest Baoulé artistic traditions and frequently represent an idealized character, have the particularity of appearing at the end of entertainment dance ceremonies. The latter are named, according to the regions, bedwo, ngblo, mblo, adjussu, etc... Each of these masks are distinguished by the hairstyles, the location and the choice of scarifications, etc... Also called Gbagba, they personify graceful young girls or men whose valor or qualities of integrity are renowned. The new ...


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Pende Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Pende Mask

Called Kiwoyo at the East Pende, Giwoyo ch those of the Centre, this African mask still endowed with his hairstyle and extended with a chin strap was worn in a cap over a soft hat, tumba . Most of the masks of the Central Pende, sculpted by the dancers, were worn tilted on the forehead, to be seen in profile. Originally associated with the deceased lying on his diaper, this mask was associated with funeral rituals. Nowadays he participates in peaceful and festive ceremonies. The spendents live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the have settled on the banks of the Kasai river downstream of Tshikapa. The influences of the neighbouring ethnic groups, Mbla, Suku, Wongo, Leele, Kuba and Salempasu, were imprinted on their large tribal art sculpture. Within this diversity the masks Mbuya, ...


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

Cross scarifications adorn the face of this African tribal art mask. The headdress is made of a single non-striated shell, perched like a visor. Under the accent of the eyebrows, long curved eyelids adopt a horizontal line in the same way as the mouth. This mask with serene features was intended to establish a link with the world of spirits and ancestors, to whom protective and beneficial virtues were attributed. Smooth patina.
Okuyi masks were exhibited during rituals with very ancient origins during which dancers mounted on stilts moved in order to invoke the spirit of a deceased person using a mask representing a beautiful young woman. .
These rituals took place during the funerals of notables, of women who had given birth to twins or were themselves twins, but also on the ...


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

African art from Ivory Coast and its abstract masks.
Plank mask on which emerge stylized human features surmounted by a visor block. Large hands with interlocking fingers form a grid in the center of the face. Velvety speckled patina.
The Kru are divided into twenty-four subgroups, including the Grebo, who live in southern Liberia and southwestern Côte d'Ivoire. Their leader is the bodio, who lives in seclusion. Unlike most West African populations, they are not subject to Poro society. Their masks with tubular growths would be of oubi origin, and could symbolize the mythical creatures that inhabit the forests on the banks of the Cavally, to which the people address themselves through ritual ceremonies. The interest of cubist painters and modern sculptors for the abstract ...


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Ti wara Bambara
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Ti wara Bambara

African Art and the founding myths Bambara
This highly stylized animal statue refers to the horse-antelope Ciwara ("wild of the earth") who would have taught agriculture to man. She would also have offered him the first cereal. The mask-crest was attached to a basketry hat by raffia ties. Brown matte patina.
One ear is missing. Erosions.
Worn at the top of the head, these crests accompanied the dancers during the rituals of the tòn, an association dedicated to agricultural work. The masks traversed the field while leaping in order to drive out from this one the nyama, malefic emanations, and to detect any danger, or to flush out the malevolent genies who could ravish the soul of the cultivated plants as well as the life force of their seeds.

Established in ...


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

Extended by a long neck adorned with alternating decorative motifs, the structure of this mask is reminiscent of certain Pende circumcision masks, the features reflecting a certain softness mixing Mbala and Pindi influences. Locally chipped crusty polychrome patina.
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The Kwésé are established among other tribes such as the Mbala and the Hungaan, along the banks of the Kwango River in the Democratic Republic of congo. A triumvirate chooses the territorial chiefs on whom the village chiefs depend. The Kwese mainly cultivate millet, maize and cassava and fish in the local rivers using traps and baskets. The neighboring ethnic groups have strongly influenced the style of their sculpture, sometimes erroneously attributed to the Pende, the Suku or the Mbalas. In addition to ...


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