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African art - African Maternity:

Motherhood is a recurring theme in African art. The symbolism is always the same, that the child is carried on the back, in the arms, that it takes the breast, that it rests on the knees, it is hieratic. Motherhood is not the affective expression between the child and his mother, but it is a sign of fertility and reveals an inexhaustible source of meanings ranging from the family nucleus to politics and religion.

Motherhood figure Chokwe / Lwena
African art > African Statues > Statue Chokwe

Statue associated with therapeutic cult type Hamba , this sculpture Chokwe or Lwena embodies a female ancestor supposed to guarantee fertility or healing. These figures were arranged around the altar muyombo, a tree at the foot of which sacrifices and offerings were once made. Sculptures such as figures made in sticks or poles ( Mbunji or mbanji), planted in the ground, were also associated. The related ethnic groups had the same type of altar, a witness before which rituals, oaths and important transactions were concluded. (Source: Chokwe, B. Wastiau)The character who also depicts the second wife of legendary chef Chibinda Ilunga sports a bulging hairstyle like a helmet and metal adornments. Smooth patina with matte granular pigments. Abrasions of the character's fingers. Xylophage ...

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Maternity figure Kongo Yombe Phemba
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African art > African Statues > Statue of Congo

Ex-collection Swiss African art.
The Solongo cultures of Angola and Yombé were largely influenced by the Kongo kingdom, from which they borrowed naturalistic statuary and religious laughs through carved fetishes nkondo nkisi.
This figure of woman, wearing a dignitary's headdress, symbol of the mythical ancestor presumably associated with fertility cults, surrounds himself with a group of miniatures represented in various positions. The two figures on his shoulders feature an abdominal cavity in which a magical charge, bilongo, or relics have been introduced. The woman is seated on a seat supported by caryatids, which a janiform dog, koso , mediator between the living and the dead, also supports. Diamond scarifications cover the character's back. These cuts, made using ...

Female figure Nkpasopi Akye or Abe
African art > African Statues > Statue Nkpasopi

Sculpted and decorated according to aesthetic criteria allowing u-0022capter" the spirit to which the medium or healer addresses, this motherhood with an ovoid face, the curved morphology of the statues Nkpasopi , has a sumptuous hairstyle organized in buns and long braid. This type of statues were evaluated on the basis of the effectiveness of the rituals depicting them. In most cases, these statues served as a mediator between the healers and the spirits that took hold of them, and they are still used today. The lagoon populations of eastern Côte d'Ivoire include mainly Attié, Akyé, Ebrié and Abouré. Their sculptures offer many similarities. These kingdoms had the first commercial establishments offering gold, ivory, slaves and pepper to the West.Among the group of Akan , the Aattié ...

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Yoruba Altar Figure
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African art > African Statues > Yoruba Maternity

This figure of motherhood, symbolizing a mother of twins and the embodiment of an orisa, mother of the living, personifies the goddess of the Earth, guarantor of the abundance of resources, fertility and prosperous health. A ritual statue to be placed on an altar, it was revered by members of the powerful Ogboni Society, or Osugbo, in charge of justice. Different twin figures, in an amazing variety of postures, surround the main breastfeeding subject. The latter features a back covered with geometric patterns referring to traditional scarifications and tattoos, and a braided hairstyle in which complementary miniatures are placed.
Granuous polychrome patina.
Yoruba live in Nigeria, Benin and Togo. The kingdoms of Oyo and Ijebu were born in the 15th century following the demise ...

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Senoufo Maternity Figure
African art > African Statues > Statue Senoufo

Senoufo African art and maternity wards
The Senoufo have produced a wide variety of African tribal art objects related to the Poro's initiation society: mask-heaumes, face masks, crests, peststatues, or statues depicting the mythical Mother Ka Tyéko.This female tribal statue features a symbolic gesture, sitting, a child with a breast. Scarifications in "moustaches of cat" are present at the cracks of the mouth, linear and parallel on the body. Her hairstyle evokes the mythical bird linked to cosmogony, evoked during the initiation of young people. Sculpture with a satin black patina.
Senoufo villages are made up of clusters of dwellings called katiolo . Each has its own association Poro whose members move up the initiation ladder throughout their lives. Members gather in a ...

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Maternity figure Phemba Kongo
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African art > African Statues > Statue Phemba

Naturalism of the phemba in African art Kongo
The rituals of fertility and progeny, central themes of African cultures, are addressed through this motherhood. Sitting in a suit, she has a child on her lap. This realistic tribal sculpture is kneeling on a quadrangular base. On her chest and in the back she sports geometric scarifications. These cuts, made using needles, knives and razors, were then sprayed with charcoal or ash to accelerate healing and form protruding patterns Ingrained in ritual libations alternating with a patina. mahogany brown satin. Large desication crack.
In the 13th century, the Kongo people, led by their king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads of the borders between present-day DRC, Angola and Gabon. Two centuries later, the Portuguese came ...

Senoufo du Poro maternity statue
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African art > African Statues > Senufo Maternity

This maternity figure whose characteristics refer to the Senoufo of northern Côte d'Ivoire would embody the mother goddess or Katyeleo . She is represented here in the company of two effigies of twins, considered a blessing of the gods among the Senoufo.These children also symbolize the initiates of the Poro and the people dependent on divine graces. Locally abraded medium brown smooth skate. Indigenous restorations using metal staples.
The Senoufo, a name given to them by French settlers, are mostly made up of farmers who have dispersed between Mali, Côte d'Ivoire, and Burkina Faso. The councils of elders, led by an elected chief, administer the Senoufo villages. Governed by matrilineal traditions, they are composed of clusters of dwellings named katiolo . Each of them has its own ...

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Kongo Phemba Maternity
African art > African Statues > Statue of Congo

A subgroup of the Kongo , the Yombe, based on the west coast of Africa, in the south-west of the Republic of Congo and in Angola, are characterized by a statuary in which various figures of motherhood abound: round headdresses or pointed, mouth open on slender teeth, sometimes glazed gaze in which the pupils are clearly visible, characters kneeling, standing, sitting. Relief scarifications adorn the bust of the effigies, such as the bust of this Phemba statue. These cuts, made using needles, knives and razors, were then sprayed with coal or ash to accelerate healing. The mother sits in a suit on a circular base, an infant on her lap. The distinctive elements of the Kongo are the cheffal cap "mpu", the wearing of bracelets and a band compressing the chest. This mediating object was used ...

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Maternity figure Kongo Yombé Pfemba
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African art > African Statues > Statue Pfemba

African ritual objects have various appearances, such as this tribal sculpture of the Kongo , where a seated female effigy breastfeeds a child. She embodies the ancestor of the clan, a mediator figure, as evidenced by the losangic scarifications of the bust. The Yombe adorned their textiles, mats and loincloths, with this type of losangic motif pattern in relation to proverbs glorifying work and social unity. The open mouth shows off traditionally lined teeth, and wide-eyed, underline the grandfather's ability to perceive the afterlife, to discern hidden things. This type of statuette also adorned the top of the prestige canes, mwala . Satin patina with warm highlights. Fissures.Belonging to the Kongo group, the Yombe are established on the west coast of Africa, in the southwestern ...

Yombé Kongo maternity figure
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African art > African Statues > Statue Yombe

The Yombe settled on the west coast of Africa, in the southwestern Republic of Congo and in Angola. Their statuary includes remarkable maternity wards, such as this statuette associated with fertility rites, clad in a satin patina ranging from light brown to dark brown to mahogany reflections.
Abrasions, desication cracks. In the 13th century, the people Kongo , led by their king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads of the borders between present-day DRC, Angola and Gabon. Two centuries later, the Portuguese came into contact with the Kongo and converted their king to Christianity. Although monarchical, the Kongo political system had a democratic aspect because the king was actually placed at the head of the kingdom following an election held by a council of tribal ...

Maternity Pfemba Kongo Yombé
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African art > African Maternity > Yombe Phemba Maternity

Ex-Belgian African art collection.

The Yombe are a subgroup of the Kongo ethnic group. In their statuary, kongo stylistic canons such as eyes encrusted with pieces of glass or mirror give life to the object in addition to the overall realism of the strokes and proportions.
Fertility and progeny, central themes of African cultures, are addressed through this motherhood or phemba. The mother sits and holds a child in her arms.
The patina is smooth and gives in mahogany tones. The mother is awe-down with sculpted necklaces and bracelets. The headdress is engraved with fine geometric patterns.

In the 13th century, the Kongo people, led by their king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads of the borders between present-day DRC, Angola and Gabon. Two ...

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Koulango Maternity
African art > African Maternity > Statue Koulango

Named Pakhalla by the Dioula, the Koulango formed the Loron in the Voltaic territory. The chiefs Dagomba of the Kingdom of Bouna would then have called them " Koulam " (singular: koulango , subject, vassal). Their complex history has spawned a culture no less complex. It is between Burkina Faso and Comoé, in the north-east of Côte d'Ivoire, that their territory extends. An imist fetishistic religion, they address their ancestors and the spirits of nature through sculptures in which the soul of these spirits are supposed to reside.
Female fertility figure depicted sitting on a royal stool, it features a ringed neck and a colorful, vase-shaped crest with coloured scales. An infant heads her breast. Blue and red pigments reveal certain traits.

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Kongo Pfemba Maternity
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African art > African Statues > Phemba Maternity

Ex-Belgian tribal art collection.
Naturalism of African art of the Kongo/Yombe group
Group of the Kongo ethnic group , the Yombe are characterized by a statuary with round or pointed headdresses, a mouth ajar on slender teeth, and eyes in which pupils are visible. In this case the look is made up of black pin-head pupils whose glass shard accentuates the hypnotic character. Relief scarifications adorn the bust of the character. Fertility and progeny, central themes of African cultures, are addressed through this motherhood or phemba. The mother sits in a suit on a quadrangular seat.  In order to activate the magical force of the object, the nganga had to insert a nail or blade into the object, the metal, for the Kongo, being a symbol of power endowed with many virtues. ...

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Maternity Tagbana
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African art > African Maternity > Maternity Tagbana

Ex collection of African art Emmanuel Lettelier, agronomist, having been stationed in Katiola in the 70s-80s and whose great-grandfather François was a close friend of Father Jules Moury who opened a Catholic mission in this department from Ivory Coast.

This is a unique piece representing a mother nursing her child from a stool. Polychrome has survived the passage of time. The sculpture of bodies and faces is faithful. A headband decorated with cowries accompanies the maternal headdress. The patina is very rough and mostly black. The Tagbana belong to the Senoufo ethnic group but are found in the north-east of Côte d'Ivoire, where the Gour or Voltaic group, one of the oldest tribes in the country, is also located. Religious beliefs are strongly implanted among the Tagbana. ...

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Dan Mask /Guéré
African art > African Maternity > Masque Dan

Ex-French African art collection.
One of the variations of African masks dan here is a concave area between the forehead and eyes, half-closed stretched eyelids, and a diamond mouth revealing high incised teeth. Its particularity consists of tubular growths on the cheekbones evoking krou masks, as well as a beard composed of white pearl necklaces and bells sewn on a fringed cloth. The crusty matte patina has polychrome highlights. It was as a result of dreams in which the spirits manifested themselves that the masks were carved according to precise indications so that they could be honored through their appearances. The Dan also sculpt, always according to the instructions of the soothsayer, miniature masks on the model of large masks. They are worn in amulets by children. Dan ...

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Ashanti Maternity
African art > African Maternity > Ashanti Maternity

Former Belgian private collection of African art Jan Putteneers.

Seated female representations from Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana are usually queens. A special feature of this room, this woman carries her child in her arms.
This one is removable like the stool. The latter with a curved seat is typical of the Akan seats.
The patina is clear and slightly worn in places.
The facial features are marked with the help of black color giving a realistic look one infusing life into the broad black pupils.

The Akan people is subdivided into several famous subgroups located near the coast in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana, having been enriched by the trade in precious metals and slaves during contacts with Westerners and in particular the Portuguese who were the first to ...

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Tikar Maternity in bronze
African art > African Maternity > Tikar Maternity in bronze

The mastery of bronze in African art.

This is a typical representation of a maternal figure according to the canons of Tikar art.
Sitting on a royal stool, she holds two children on her lap. Of high lineage, it is richly adepped with jewels, necklaces and bracelets around the neck and wrists.
The headdress is very elaborate and many ritual scarifications cover her belly. The stool's seat is highly worked and rests on a five-character caryatid base.

The tribes that live in the Grasslands, northwest of Cameroon, are part of the Tikar peoples, divided into several independent kingdoms in the Bafut kingdom. The structure of the kingdom consists of a large chiefdom subdivided into quarters: the residences of queens, children and notables.

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Bambara Maternity
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African art > African Maternity > Bambara Maternity

Ex private French collection of African art.

This Bambara maternity shines with its verticality and the solemnity of its expression. The features are lengthened as often in Bambara statuary and in that of their close neighbors, the Dogon. The high decorated headdress hangs two braids. Recurring themes in African art, fertility and breastfeeding are addressed here by breastfeeding the two infants to this imposing breast. The patina is generally smooth, of a rather saturated brown. Usually kept in a secluded hut, this object was released during initiation ceremonies for girls and occasionally when a woman wanted help to promote fertility. The Bambara are found in central and southern Mali. They belong to the large Mande group, like Soninke and Malinke. They believe in the ...

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Tikar maternity
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African art > African Maternity > Tikar maternity

Magnificent lost-wax casting object, representing  a Tikar maternity. Sit on a regal stool, she holds a child and is about to feed him. Of high lineage, she is adorned with jewels, earrings, necklaces and anklets. The coiffure is well elaborated and many ritual scarifications cover her body.  The highly toothed mouth is hypertrophied, eyes are stretched down. An unique finely worked object.

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