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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.

Bira, Hunde mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bira mask

The polychrome patterns, originally applied with the finger by the ritualist named ishumi , remain almost imperceptible on the surface of our bira mask.
Indeed, although masks decorated with dotted lines often originated in northern D.R.C., clans in the Utuiri region also made use of similar masks featuring the traditional designs applied to bodies and faces during ritual ceremonies.
Height on base: 44cm.
The Bira or Hunde and the Komo of Congo belong to the same ethnic entity and their last migration dates back to the 18th century. Their region of origin would be the Ubangi, even Chad, and even according to some, the Nile basin (Siffer).they speak an archaic Bantu language. They speak an archaic Bantu language. Settled in Ituri, there are the Bira who have ...


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380.00  304.00

Ashanti Akua  ba doll
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African art > African Dolls > Ashanti doll

Fertility wishes in African art Ashanti.
This stylized female figure, called Akua'ba (plural Akua'mma), has features peculiar to Ashanti dolls, usually devoid of legs: a flat, circular head surmounting a cylindrical bust with horizontal arms. Thin necklaces of colored beads contrast with the dark patina.
These stylized wooden effigies were worn by pregnant women, tightly wrapped in their loincloths, to ensure the arrival of beautiful children. The overwhelming majority of these statues are female, with breasts.

The Ashanti are one of the ethnic groups of Ghana (formerly the "Gold Coast"), part of the Akan group, inhabiting a region covered by forests. Like other populations living in the central and southern part of Ghana, they speak a language of the Twi ...


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240.00  192.00

Sao Sokoto Putchu Guinadji rider
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Sao bronze

In African art, Sao Sokoto inspired works are mostly marked by the equestrian world. Within the ethnic group, small examples of horsemen, generally made of bronze, are cast and worn as talismans, with a patina and a lustrous finish. They are considered above all as a remedy against possession by evil spirits. The horse represents the spirit of the person who is possessed, while the genie that possesses them is symbolized by the rider.
Subjected to successive assaults by their neighbors from Kanem and then by hordes from the East, the Sao had to abandon their lands to settle in the northwest of Cameroon where they mixed with the natives, thus giving birth to an ethnic group called Kotoko. More than an ethnic group, the Sao are a civilization that has now disappeared. They ...


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40.00  32.00

Boa Bavobongo mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Boa mask

Consisting of different planes of contrasting colors and provided with large ears, this African mask kpongadomba or " Pongdudu " was supposed to make invulnerable. Its appearance wanted to terrify the enemy. This mask of African art kpongadomba of Boa was ordered by the chief kumu who offered it to the most valiant warrior . It was then kept in the hut of his wife. The oversized ears are perforated like the earlobes of the eastern Boa once were. The "bavobongo" has a mouth lined with teeth figured by sticks, and conferred an impressive appearance on its wearer, accentuated by the contrast of colors. Velvety patina. Close to the Mangbetu and the Zande, the Boa inhabit the savannah in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some Boa would have used these masks for ...


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Tabwa buffalo mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Tabwa Mask

Ex-collection of Belgian African art.
African Tabwa mask symbolizing power. Polychrome matte patina.
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 their ancestors mipasi thanks to sculptures held by chiefs or sorcerers. A magical charge ( dawa ) was introduced at the top of the head of the statues. Healing soothsayers used this type of objects to unveil witchcraft and protect against malevolent spirits. Simple farmers without centralized power, the Tabwa federated around tribal chiefs after having undergone the influence of the Luba whose beliefs they integrated. It is mainly during this period that their artistic current ...


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 Dan Gunye ge mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Dan mask

This African mask from the Ivory Coast distinguished by its metal-rimmed eyes, known as a "race mask" (pointed face, round hollowed-out eyes, diamond-shaped mouth) was held against the face with cotton strips attached to the contour perforations and tied behind the head.
The wearer was chased by an unmasked runner; if he was caught, he had to pass the mask to the winner, who in turn was chased by another runner. The purpose of these races was once to train men to run and fight. This type of event is now very often linked to the festivals announcing the beginning of the dry season and those linked to the initiation of young children.
A mask used for entertainment by the Dan farmers of northwestern Côte d'Ivoire, known as Yacouba, it is also sometimes used as ...


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Lega initiation figure of the Bwami
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lega figure

This "iginga" statuette of the Lega, for didactic purposes, has a hollowed out bust with a hole in the back. The face is in the image of the masks produced by the group. The small, stubby legs are reminiscent of legs. Dark patina, cracks and kaolin residue on the head. Among the Lega, the teacher of the Bwami initiation society guided the aspirant to a place where masks and statuettes were displayed, and it was through careful observation that the future initiate had to guess the more or less complex meaning of these metaphors, which largely referred to proverbs and sayings. Those who were not allowed to see the object, in order to be protected from it, had to undergo costly ceremonies, and sometimes even join the lower rank of the Bwami, the kongabulumbu, at great expense to the ...

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Figure of Reliquary Kota Mbulu-Ngulu
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota Reliquary

This ritual sculpture, plated with copper leaves according to the Kota tradition, forms a stylized image of the ancestor, a coat of arms also for the clan, and is generally distinguished by the shape of the headdress, which varies according to the region. This variant is indeed distinguished by the spheres outlining the contours of the central face, an unusual decorative element.
The Kota inhabit the eastern part of Gabon, which is rich in iron ore, and some in the Republic of Congo. The blacksmith, in addition to woodcarving, made tools for agricultural work as well as ritual weapons. The sculptures playing the role of "medium" between the living and the dead who watched over the descendants, were associated with the rites to the bwete, comparable to those of the Fang . They ...

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

The sobriety of the African masks of the Lega. This African mask is used during the initiation rites of the Bwami society. It is open to both men and women. The center bears residues of kaolin. The passage of a rank indicated the acquisition of a certain wisdom and individual morality. Abraded two-tone patina. Height on base : 38 cm. 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 known as Warega, they live in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades, usually on hilltops. The role of chief, kindi, is held by ...


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380.00  304.00

Lega Iginga figure
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lega figure

The tribal art of the Lega, Balega, or even Warega, is distinguished by its initiation statuettes, also made of ivory, some of which were kept in a basket for the highest ranking Bwami of different communities. This type of tribal art statuette Iginga ( Maginga in the plural), was the property of the high ranking members of the Bwami , a secret society admitting men and their wives , and governing social life . This organization was subdivided into initiatory stages, the highest being the Kindi. The statuettes were used in the course of the initiation of the aspirants. Each one is a representation with a particular form and meaning from which a moral or a dogma is always derived. The particularity of the Lega, contrary to other ethnic groups, is to judge the quality of their ritual ...


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180.00  144.00

Songye bust fetish
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African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Songye bust

Statuette-fetish Nkisi , nkishi (pl. mankishi ) featuring a busty, masked figure. Glossy black patina. Slightly missing, desiccation cracks.

These protective fetishes for homes are among the most prized in Africa. The Nkisi plays the role of mediator between gods and men. The larger examples are collectively owned by an entire village, while the smaller figures belong to an individual or a family. In the sixteenth century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba River. Their society is organized in a patriarchal manner. Their history is inseparable from that of the Luba to whom they are related through common ancestors. The Songyes have created impressive statues with powerful features that are often used during secret ...


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190.00  152.00

Fon Vodun Fetiche
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African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Fon Vodun Fetiche

As other Fon fetishes, this statue is a wooden structure covered with aggregates mixed with hairs, probably warthogs and primates. The bent forearms make each other join hands. Facial features can still be vaguely distinguished under libations.

In the course of its history, fon art has been imbued with Yoruba and ewe creations according to migration and trade. However, this art cannot be reduced to these two influences. Indeed, the Fon themselves have brought their originality to their statuary.
Voodoo or vodun, a religious cult whose name comes from a variant of the Yoruba word meaning 'god', is found in them in particular.
These statues were therefore used during vodun rituals according to different procedures.
The slave trade on the coast, the term ...


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

A face with large concave orbits, a nose and a mouth reduced, form this African mask surmounted by a growth evoking horns. To the perforations of the contours came to fix the ornament of raffia or papyrus today absent.
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 the public dances and ceremonies preceding the hunt. Evocation of a forest spirit, this tribal mask was kept in sacred caves and it was during festivals associated with the hunt and ancestor cults that it was displayed. They also appeared during the Bwami circumcision ceremonies.
Two-tone light patina.
The Bembe ethnic group is a Luba branch that is said to have left ...


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115.00

Kumu, Komo mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Kumu mask

African mask whose pastillage, which could be related to the panther, bears the imprint of the pygmy influence.
A ridge divides the forehead and extends over the nose, while the oblique eyes are atypical. The pouting mouth reveals a row of spaced teeth. Matt patina, old polychromy. Erosions.
According to M.L. Félix, the African masks produced by the clans living in the north of the Ituri region mostly adopt stylized features sculpted on a shallow base, and their decoration evokes the animal world, accompanied by color pigments similar to those that adorn the bodies during initiation rites. Similar masks, decorated with dotted lines, were however worn in Ubangi by the Ndunga and Zande of the northeast, where initiates and elders wore this type of body paint on certain ...


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290.00  232.00

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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280.00  224.00

Kongo Nkishi Yombe ritual figure
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Yombe statue

Tribal statue previously consecrated by the priest nganga whose abdominal cavity has ritual elements in the form of thorny branches. The charge or bilongo is indeed composed of various ingredients from the natural environment: clay, red wood powder tukula , white clay pembe... , but possibly human fragments such as teeth, nails or even hair.
This conjuring fetish, represented perched on a turtle symbolizing wisdom, prudence and longevity, was supposed to counter adversity.
The headdress is characteristic of the statuary of Beembe and Yombe, other tribes of the Kongo group.
Among the Kongo, the specialist named nganga ,was in charge of rituals by activating a spiritual force with a nkondi (pl. nkissi). The term nkisi was later used to refer to the ...

Yaure Lomane, Anoman mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Yohoure masker

Ex-French African art collection.
A subgroup of the Akan people found in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, the Yaoure produced sculptural art influenced by the neighboring Baule and Gouro ethnic groups. This African mask belonging to the I society is topped with a bird figure. Carefully carved tripartite hair highlights the thin face, and a collar of triangular patterns encircles the mask. Fine "ngole" scarification marks the temples. Brown shaded patina.
This example, which could be attributed to the Anoman group, Lomane , (bird) is part of the fourth of the seven I masks that originally danced around the deceased and bent over until it touched him for purifying purposes. It also appears currently during celebrations. The African art masks Yaouré , or Yauré , of which the ...


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290.00  232.00

Dogon shutter door
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African art > Doors, shutters, ladders dogon wood > Dogon door

This Dogon door or shutter, complete with its lock, is carefully carved with low-relief anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figures, and scenes evoking the rich Dogon cosmogony. The door is made of vertical panels held together by large metal clasps. Each of the figures at the top of the panel wears a kanaga mask, displayed by the Dogon during mourning ceremonies.
Smaller scenes at the bottom of the panel also illustrate daily life.
The Nommo, the mythical ancestor, is said to have founded the eight Dogon lineages and instilled weaving, blacksmithing, and agriculture in their human descendants.
The figures may symbolize previous generations, mythical ancestors, but the owners of the granary also frequently appear. The motifs on doors in Mali, apart from their ...


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280.00  224.00

Animal figure Boulou, Bulu
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Boulou statue

Anthropozoomorphic representations in African art.
Embodying the spirit of a great ape, this statue represents an orangutan. Imprisoned in a clay mound, abrus seeds and cowries form a decorative motif. Crusty surface, red ochre highlights. Located between Cameroon and Gabon, in the equatorial forest, the Boulou are part of the Fang group. Like the Fang of southern Cameroon, famous for their large white masks, the Boulou also practiced the Ngil ritual to fight against witchcraft and poisoning. Ngi is the gorilla, a fearsome animal with which the postulant identifies after being accepted into the secret society.


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480.00  384.00

Songye Kalebwe Nkishi fetish statue
African art > The fetish, this emblematic object of primitive art > Songye fetish

Statuette Nkisi, nkishi (pl. mankishi ) camped high on a rounded base. The power of the fetish, according to Songye beliefs, would be reinforced by the presence of its accessories, such as the summit horn and the various additions of materials and accessories, vegetable fibers, animal skins, dried fruits, etc... Semi-matt brown patina. Cracks.
These protective fetishes for homes are among the most prized in Africa. The Nkisi plays the role of mediator between gods and men. The large examples are the collective property of an entire village, while the smaller figures belong to an individual or a family. In the sixteenth century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba River. Their society is organized in a patriarchal manner. ...


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240.00

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

This African mask of initiation, Mbuya, emanates from the Pende of the West whose Yaka influence is notable in the slightly upturned nose facture. The wide lowered eyelids indicate the Pende tradition of not staring in public.
This African Pendé mask has a headdress made of cloth and raffia fibers.
Total height on base: 42 cm.
The western Pende live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the eastern ones have settled on the banks of the Kasai downstream from Tshikapa. The influences of the neighboring ethnic groups, Mbla, Suku, Wongo, Leele, Kuba, and Salampasu have been imprinted on their extensive tribal art sculpture. Within this diversity the Mbuya masks, realistic, produced every ten years, have a festive function, and embody different characters, including ...


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320.00  256.00





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