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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.

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

Here, the "abiku", adornments with a protective purpose, can be found here in each of the characters carved into coloured pearl necklaces, cauris chains, and metal bells. These statuette-dolls "ere" (statues), evoking twins, feature a hairstyle formed of braids gathered in a sagittal crest.
Satric glossy surface.
In the language of the Yoruba people, ibeji means twin: ibi for born and eji for two. They represent the figure of a deceased twin. This ibedji is then treated as the missing child would have been. It is the mother who must take care of him; she can wash and feed him regularly. If she dies, the remaining twin takes over. A man sometimes had ibeji for his wife to sculpt in order to arouse pregnancy. Supporting the soul of the twin, the ibeji influences the life of the ...


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300.00

Kuyu Totem Figure
African art > African Statues > Statue Kuyu

Wearing a totemic animal evoking the camelon, this sculpture depicts a mythical being with three faces, perched on a pachyderm. A crusty, locally cracked polychrome patina is the entire piece.
Two totem 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 snake 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 its emblem. For its part, the snake's ...


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450.00

Bwa Nawantante Mask
African art > African mask > Bwa Mask

An established population on both sides of the Black Volta in Burkina Faso and Mali, the Bwa are divided into three endogamous castes: blacksmiths, griots and farmers. The Bwa believe in a god Difini creator of the world, who later abandoned him to his son Do. Do, whose emblem is an iron rhombe named alive , is supposed to intervene during funerals and agrarian rites. The leaf masks are made by the villagers, only the South Bwa, the niegue , produce wooden masks often zoomorphic, and the famous board masks, abstract, representing the spirits of nature, the naw . (C.Roy) Incarnating a spirit, this mask abstractly evoking the calao bird is topped with a vertical plank and a feminine figure reminiscent of the style of gurunsi masks. The mask owner and his family worshipped the object through ...


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350.00

Masque Igbo Izzi
African art > African mask > Izzi Mask

This type of mask called ogbodo enyi in the extreme north-east of the igbo country, and which means " spirit of the elephant", refers to the strength and endurance of the majestic pachyderm. Indeed, in addition to the presence of elements appearing in tusks, the protruding forehead, returning to the inside of the mask, is a stylized evocation of the trunk. Because of its exceptional characteristics, the elephant is associated with a symbolism of political and spiritual power and features prominently in the Igbo cosmogony.
These masks that combine human and animal elements were sculpted in different formats and wore horizontally, and, like most igbo masks, performed with other masks during dance performances. Unusually, they could be worn by women, despite a threat of infertility to ...


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390.00

Baoulé maternity figure
objet vendu
African art > African Statues > Statue Baoulé

A tribal sculpture depicting a woman sitting with a child, she displays traditional keloid scars and a hairstyle whose chiseled braids on the wood form a large shell. A bust and a long neck give elegant volumes to this statue expressing a peaceful concentration. Grey-brown speckled patina, kaolin-encrusted residue. Two types of statues are produced by the baoulé in the ritual framework: The statues Waka-Sona, " be of wood " in baoulé, evoke a asssouou, be of the earth. They are part of a type of statues intended to be used as a medium tool by the soothsayers komien, the latter being selected by the spirits asye usu in order to communicate the revelations of the afterlife. The second type of statues, made according to the soothsayer's instructions, are the spouses of the afterlife, male, ...


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Bamoun/Bamileke beaded statue
African art > African Statues > Statue Cameroon

Colors and chiefdoms in African art. The Bamiléké , a subgroup of a larger people also made up of Bamoun and Tikar , are famous for their sculptures of African art covered with pearls, signs of prosperity and wealth, conferring on the royal object the brilliance that distinguishes it from common objects.

This female statuette of ancestor, stocky, was first carved in wood and then covered with a canvas of rabane encrusted with imported multicolored pearls, predominantly blue and red. She wears a crest hairstyle ending in the neck. The hands are placed on her lower abdomen in a gesture associated with fertility. The physiognomy displays a distinctive expressiveness of African tribal art from the Grassland regions.
Among the Bamilékés as in other ethnic groups, the art ...


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150.00

Horseman talisman Sao Sokoto Putchu Guinadji
African art > African Rider > Rider Sao

Ex-collection French African art.
Used as an amulet credited with apotropaic virtues, this small bronze sculpture is, for the Sao, a talisman supposed to protect them from madness. It is therefore worn at all times. The genius who would possess the madman is represented by the rider, the horse appearing the victim. This rider wearing a cheche rides an equine that was a rare attribute of prestige in these regions of the Sahel. The Sao, ancestors of the Kotokos, were established between the 12th and 14th centuries in a geographical area stretching along the borders between Chad, northern Cameroon and Nigeria. They settled on hills, allowing them to repel the invaders. Subjected to successive onslaughts from their neighbours in Kanem and then to hordes from the east, the Sao had to ...

Etoffe Pongo from Ituri
objet vendu
African art > African Textile > Etoffe Pongo

Produced by pygmies from the Ituri forest in the Democratic Republic of Congo, these fabrics woven from ficus bark fibres were painted by women. Men cut wood and hammered bark, and women generally used a gardenia decoction mixed with charcoal ash to draw patterns similar to tattoos worn by tribal members.
On this copy, grids of different formats have been drawn on the clear background, one of them, sometimes forming a loop at its end. The rhythm and space created between the various signs would also have a link with the polyphonic songs through which the pygmies of Ituri address God. The Mangbetu, in contact with the Asua pygmies, produced a similar type of cloth (named tapa in Oceania) decorated with more complex symbols called murumba or nogetwe . This type of fabric, if not worn ...


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Etoffe Ncak nsueha Bushoong
African art > African Textile > Etoffe Ncak

Prestigious fabrics among the objects of African art Kuba
Products in Zaire by the Shoowa, Bashoowa, mainly, subgroup Kuba , these fabrics forming real first art paintings, consist of a textile base in raffia. The geometric patterns formed represent the bodily 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. They in many cases took value of money, or also followed their owners into the grave by covering the body of the deceased. It was King Shamba Bolongongo who introduced the weaving technique to the Kuba country in the 17th century. He had previously introduced the Kuba to the art of forging. It was the men who softened the fibers of young ...


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280.00

Poupée Mossi Biga
African art > African Statues > Mossi doll

A schematic anthropomorphic sculpture, whose appearance of the head varies by region, it represents a spirit with which a relationship is established. As a fertility attribute, the stylized chest is highlighted on the tubular bust marked with linear scarifications. The stylized head evokes the braids worn in crests by the girls. Satin light brown patina. The use of dolls by young African women is not done exclusively within the initiation context. When menstruation occurs, the girl is considered a potential mother. In many ethnic groups, the search for fertility is then done through rituals. Wooden figures will then be carved, some reflecting both genres, in many cases covered with pearls and clothing. During the period of confinement, the doll, which becomes a child who asks to be fed, ...


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140.00

Zande figurines
African art > African Statues > Statue Zande

Ex-collection African art Switzerland.
Zande anthropomorphic figure where we find the triangular face with a copper ring on his right ear. Coffee bean eyes, enlarged arms on a bulging torso. Black brown skate.
Formerly referred to as " Niam-Niam " because they are considered anthropophages, the tribes grouped under the name Zande, Azandé, settled, from Chad, on the border of the R.D.C. (Zaire), Sudan and Central African Republic. According to their beliefs, man is endowed with two souls, one of which transforms upon his death into the totem animal of the clan to which he belongs. The African tribal art of the Zande, or ", those who own a lot of land", apart from their courtart consisting of spoons, receptre, pipes and harps, counts two types of statues: Kudu statues of a ...


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140.00

Bakota Reliquary Keeper
objet vendu
African art > African Reliquary > Kota Reliquary

Ex-collection French African art.
The Kota of the Sebe Valley, located in Gabon but also in Congo, produced this type of sculpture that played the role of "medium" between the living and the dead and continued to watch over their descendants. They are sometimes bifaces, mbulu-viti , symbolizing the masculine and feminine aspect.
This type of coin was used in the preservation of mortuary remains of high-lineage ancestors in baskets topped with very specific sculptures, which played the role of guardians of the relics named ngulu. In the exclusive presence of insiders, the clan's major decisions were made during ceremonies during which the reliquaries were taken out and used. In order to reactivate the magic charge, the initiates rubbed the relic with sand. In the Kota, these ...


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Masquette Lukwakongo League
African art > African mask > Masque League

Named Lukwagengo, these African masks in the shape of bleached faces, such as this reduced copy, are not face masks but are worn on the back of the head, on the forehead, hung on the shoulders, fixed on a bamboo stand or carried by hand during dances. These are the insignia of the penultimate rank of the Bwami initiates that surround a mother mask named idumu .
Total height on a base: 27 cm.
The wooden versions measure around 20 cm while the bone or even ivory versions are even smaller. 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 in the 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. ...


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260.00

Female figure OviMbundu
African art > African Statues > Statue OviMbundu

Bracelets and tin hair, wide curls, rows of tiny pearls, form the adornments of this statuette of young woman OviMbundu, represented frontally in an attitude of tension, arms spread from the bust, straight head . A scarification, soaring, running from nose to forehead, completes the puncture patterns present on the cheeks. A feather was probably inserted in front of the headdress, in the opening practiced for this purpose.
This figure may have been associated with female initiation rituals, fertility, or divinatory, the hairstyle evoking that, fashioned with oil and red ochre, of young girls nyaneka as a result of the ritual efuko . Honey satin patina, desication cracks. It is on the Benguéla plateau in Angola that the Ovimbudu , Ovimbundu, composed of farmers and herders, have ...


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180.00

Songye Kifwebe Mask
African art > African mask > Kifwebe Mask

Named kikashi , this African Songye mask has classic features. However, the ridge is dug along its entire length by a wide rib pierced with holes. Parallel furrows, encrusted with white kaolin, adorn the surface of the wood, symbolizing plumage and the link with death. Areas of abrasion, and cracks are noteworthy. Internal alterations. Skate abraded by time and use, dry and velvety.
Three variants of this mask Kifwebe (pl. Bifwebe) or "Chasing the mort" (Roberts) stand out: the masculine (kilume) usually with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low crest see absent, and finally the largest embodying power (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still used today, appears to originate from the adjacent area between the northern Luba and the Southeastern Songye. They are worn ...


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480.00

Gelede Yoruba Crest Mask
African art > African mask > Yorouba Mask

The Gelede country in Nigeria pays tribute to mothers, especially the oldest of them, whose powers would be comparable to those of the Yoruba gods, or orisa, and ancestors, osi and which can be used for the benefit but also for the misfortune of society. In the latter case these women are named aje . Masked ceremonies, through performances using masks, costumes and dances, are supposed to urge mothers to use their extraordinary qualities for a peaceful and constructive purpose, for the good of society. A summary sculpture of a human bust, wrapped in a snake, rises in the crest of this polychrome mask. The latter displays the specifics of the Yoruba style: large globular eyes and claw scarifications. Abraded epolychrome skate.
During rigorously organized ceremonies, each dancer ...


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150.00

Masque facial Kwélé Ekuk
African art > African mask > Kwélé Mask

These gabonese masks with a concave face, in the heart, have almond eyes and a triangular nose. Generally concealed, the mouth is drawn here in the lower part of a concave face in a thin incision giving a smiling appearance. Depending on the presence of horns and their arrangement, the masks are called pipibudze, Ekuku zokou, etc. and are associated with the ancestors or spirits of the forest, " ekuk ". Tribe of the Kota group, the Kwélé , Bakwélé , live in forest on the northern border of the Republic of Congo. They live on hunting, agriculture and metallurgy. Practicing the cult called Bwété borrowed from the Ngwyes, which was accompanied by obligatory initiation rites, they used at the end of the ceremonies the masks ekuk evoking the antelope whose horns meet in a loop under the chin. ...


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350.00

Chokwe Altar Figure
African art > African Statues > Statue Chokwe

This tribal sculpture glorifies the spiritual and physical power, qualities of the hunter, through the representation of the founding hero of the ethnic group, Chibinda Ilunga, leader and mythical hero Chibinda Ilunga, founder of the Chokwé ethnic group. Easily recognisable thanks to its ample curved side winged headdress (cipenya-mutwe), made up of various materials, specifically a wicker frame covered with fabric, brass, leather, beads. The oversized chief had taught his people the art of hunting. The chiefs had a major function in the propitiation rites intended for the hunting and fertility of women, the objects being adorned with this figure having a protective function. Sitting naked on a pachyderm, the character recalls his privilege on the proceeds of hunting. Indeed, before ...


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450.00

Mask Bété Guéré spider
African art > African mask > Bété Mask

Entanglement of disparate horns for this facial mask of the bété/guéré ethnic group. The base of the horns was nailed to the flat, circular wooden surface and then bound by a thick strip of hardened canvas. The whole thing is plastered with a crusty film where red and white ochre pigments mingle. It is mainly in western Côte d'Ivoire that the Bété use masks whose style has been influenced by the society of masks gla populations Wobé and Guéré , together referred to as Wé or ", men who easily forgive", itself belonging to the cultural group Krou , these traditions having been passed down to them and taught to them by the Nyabwa . Of warlike origin but also involved in the resolution of conflicts, this sacred mask is worn with amulets that protect its wearer from its power against ...


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380.00

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

According to M.L. Félix, African masks produced by clans living in the north of the Uituri region mostly adopt stylized features sculpted on a shallow base, and their décor evokes the animal world, with color pigments similar to those that adorn bodies during initiation rites. Similar masks, decorated with dotted lines, were worn in Ubangi by the Ndunga and Zande of the north-east, where insiders and elders sometimes wore this type of body paint. Clear pigments applied to the finger on a brown background. velvety surface. Total height on a base: 43 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 ...


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280.00

Figure masculine Mangbetu Nebeli
objet vendu
African art > African Statues > Statue Mangbetu

The typical Mangbetu high headdress stands atop the head of this ancestor effigy. The eyes are enclosed in a delicately sculpted face offering a certain serenity. Wide ears stand out, emphasizing the importance of listening, of perception. The long neck extends from a straight column. Excessive feet and hands contrast with the general morphology. Body paintings and scarifications, evoked by geometric patterns similar to those of the Asua pygmies with which the tribe had relations, and which varied according to the circumstances, are part of the whole. The ancients name beli these figures of ancestors stored out of sight and comparable to those belonging to their secret society nebeli.
In Mangbetu from an early age, children were compressed from the cranial box, which was held ...





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