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African art - African statues : tribal fetish, maternity:

Often the work of blacksmiths who work on soft woods, African statuary includes statues of ancestors, dolls, statuettes of twins. All these statues offer geometric forms with angular contours, elongated features, sometimes with a severe expression. The arms can be glued to the body, or on the contrary, they can move away from it. We find seated or standing figures, arms and knees bent or as with the Dogon Tellem, arms raised towards the sky imploring for the coming of rain. The statues can also be used as fetishes for all sorts of animist practices, mainly in the Congo. Some are made of bronze as in the Benin kingdom. For the traditional African, their function is to make invisible realities visible.


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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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 ...

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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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 ...

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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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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Songye fetish figure
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Songye fetish

A reduced reproduction of the kifwebe mask related to the Bwadi ka bifwebe society composes the face of the anthropomorphic fetish here opposite. The latter was carved in a dense wood in geometric volumes. The symbolic and magical ritual accessories are presented here in the form of a necklace of blue beads. Light brown patina.
The fetish Songye, magical sculpture Nkisi, nkishi (pl. mankishi ), plays the role of mediator between gods and men. The larger specimens are collectively owned by an entire village, while the smaller figures belong to an individual or a family. In the 16th century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle in Kasai, Katanga and South Kivu. Their society is organized in a patriarchal manner. Their history is inseparable from that ...


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Lobi figure
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Lobi statue

The Lobi ethic group are organized around nature spirits. When they are worship, these spirits send copious rains, good health and numerous births Neglected, they give curses and sufferings.. These spirits convey laws to the diviners which must be applied to get their protection. They are featured by figures made out of wood or copper called Boteba and put on altars in a corner of the owner's house, with lots of other sculptures.


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Baoulé statue Asia usu
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Baoulé

The right hand resting on the abdomen, when the left gently caresses the beard of this Asia Usu statue with a crusty patina. Many scarification visible on the back, face and neck. This work evokes the being of the earth (Asié Usu) and is part of a set of statues intended to be used in a medium-sized setting by the Komian soothsayers selected by the asye Usu spirits in order to communicate the revelations of the afterlife.
A sixty ethnic groups populate Côte d'Ivoire, including the Baoulé, in the centre, Akans from Ghana, the savannah people, hunting and farming, as well as the Gouro, whose cults and masks they borrowed. The basic unit is lineage, under the responsibility of an elder, whose functions are political and religious.


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Statue Baule Asia usu
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Ancestor Baoulé

The Akan cults in African art
This figure "Waka -Sona", ", wood being in baoulé", is patinated by oil anointings. Many scarifications run through the anatomy of the effigy. Both hands rest in the umbilical region. This gesture of life evokes the link with the progeny, the protection of the ancestor. Dense wood, satin surface. Two types of Waka-Sona statues are produced by the baoulé in the ritual framework: those that evoke an assiè oussou, being of the earth, and which are part of a set of statues intended to be used as a medium tool by the Komian soothsayers, the latter being selected by the asye usu spirits in order to communicate the revelations of the afterlife. The second type of statues are the spouses of the afterlife, male, blolo bian or feminine, the bia blolo . Some 60 ...


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Female figure Nebeli Mangbetu
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Mangbetu

The body tracings, like those of the face, are associated with the traditional paintings of the ethnic group, inspired by the tattoos of the neighboring Asua pygmies, and which varied according to the circumstances. In addition, among the Mangbetu, from an early age, children of the upper classes underwent compression of the cranium, held tight by raffia ties. Later, the hair was "knitted" on wicker strands and a headband was placed around the forehead to bring out the hair and form this majestic headdress accentuating the elongation of the skull. The ancients called beli anthropomorphic figures embodying ancestors, stored out of sight, and comparable to those belonging to their secret society nebeli . Dark oiled patina, desiccation cracks.br> The Mangebetu kingdom in northern ...

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Luba Mikisi figure
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Luba figure

Playing the role of spiritual medium, this female luba figure is represented in a classical attitude, hands on the chest. Her headdress, behind a wide band revealing a shaved forehead, is related to the one worn by Luba women at the beginning of the 20th century. By her symbolic gesture she indicates that the secrets of royalty ( the bizila )belong to women thanks to their role of political and spiritual intermediary. The scarifications in relief on the abdomen, horizontal on the lower abdomen, scatter her bust. The umbilicus presents a prominence that also insists on its role of fertility and transmission of life. Matt dark brown patina. Crack of desiccation in the back.
The Luba (Baluba in tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa. Their cradle is Katanga, more precisely ...


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Bwami Lega initiation figure
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > League Statues

This Lega sculpture, whose morphology carved into the block of wood reveals reduced breasts pointing under enveloping shoulders, belonged to an initiate of the Bwami and was part of a set used during the initiations. Fingers like claws placed on the bust extend the arms, all evoking wings. The face qant to him adopts the recurring characteristics of lega sculpture. A flared base supports the object, itself fixed on a circular base.
Clear and matte patina, abrasions of use, velvety surface.
The Teacher of the Bwami guided the aspiring lega to a place where African lega masks and statuettes were exhibited, and it was through careful observation that the future initiate had to guess the more or less complex meaning of these objects, true metaphors largely referring to proverbs ...

Couple of Ngbandi statues
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Ngbandi statues

Among the Ngbandi, funerary statues were used, and sculptures of a couple yangba and his sister, equivalent to the Seto and Nabo ancestors of the Ngbaka.

Arranged on altars, they received daily offerings and prayers.

Dark glossy patina. Rehauts of kaolin. Desiccation cracks.
The Ngbaka are a homogeneous people of northwestern D.R.C., south of the Ubangui River. The Ngbandi live in the east ( on the left bank of the Ubangi) and the Ngombe in the south. The initiation of youth, "gaza" or "ganza" (which gives strength) among the Ngbaka and Ngbandi, has many similarities, through endurance tests, songs and dances. The rites required the presence of sculptures of ancestors. It was after a period of time away from the village that circumcision and ...


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Couple d  Ere Ibeji Yoruba Igbomina
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Ibeji Twins

The ibeji in African art.

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 ibeji 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.
Considered as much more than a physical representation of a loved one, the ibeji influences the life of the family, that is why the family continues to pray to him and to dedicate cults and libations to him.
These pieces are among the most famous art objects of the Yoruba ethnic group. In fact, the occurrence of twinning in this ethnic group is stronger than anywhere else in Black Africa. This ...

Bronze Kongo statuette
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Bronze Congo

Ex-collection French African art.
This small anthropomorphic sculpture, made of bronze, takes in miniature the canons of the Kongo statuary, especially the funerary statues inyongo or mintadi of lower Zaire, which were made of stone and represented various themes thanks to characters frozen in various attitudes. These figures form the vital embodiment of a spirit or ancestor. 
The Vili, the Lâri, the Sûndi, the Woyo, the Bembé, the Bwende, the Yombé and the Kôngo formed the group Kôngo , led by King ntotela. Their kingdom reached its peak in the 16th century with the ivory, copper and slave trade. Similarly, beliefs and traditions, they produced a statuary with a codified gesture in relation to their worldview. The sorcerers nganga, both healers, were in charge of religious ...


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Kongo Yombe Pfemba figure
African art > Maternity, statues, bronze, wood > Kongo figure

A carved figurine of the Kongo, this female effigy embodies the clan ancestor, a mediating figure.
The child embodies the matrilineal transmission of power.
The mouth reveals traditionally filed teeth, the eyes seem exorbitant, underlining the capacity of the ancestress to discern occult things.
The use of this type of carving is not well known. However, they frequently formed the motif carved at the top of the chiefs' canes. Light brown patina. Cracks and abrasions.
A clan of the Kongo group, the Yombe are established on the West African coast, in the southwestern Republic of the Congo and in Angola. Their statuary includes remarkable maternities. Among the Kongo , the nganga took charge of rituals by activating a spiritual force with a nkondi ...


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Lobi figure in black iron
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African art > Black iron objects, black iron masks > Lobi figure

Minimalism for this anthropomorphic figure in black iron. A graceful male figure that seems to be propelled by contrast thanks to the size of its body. Crusty mottled patina. The populations of the same cultural region, grouped under the name "Lobi", make up one fifth of the inhabitants of Burkina Faso. Although they are not very numerous in Ghana, they have also settled in the north of the Ivory Coast. It was at the end of the eighteenth century that the Lobi , coming from northern Ghana, settled among the indigenous Thuna and Puguli, the Dagara , the Dian , the Gan and the Birifor . The Lobi believe in a creator God named Thangba Thu, to whom they turn through the worship of numerous intermediate spirits, the Thil, the latter being supposed to protect them, with the help of the ...


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Figure of Igbo sanctuary
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Igbo statue

The Igbo, in southeastern Nigeria, worship a considerable number of deities known as alusi , or agbara, considered to be the offspring of Chuku, or Chukwu, and as such constitute intermediaries to whom sacrifices such as kola nuts, money, kaolin,are bestowed in order to enjoy their favors.
These Nigerian sculptures produced in several regions range from about forty centimeters to a human size, and are adorned with more or less elaborate aristocratic attributes.
The sculptors turn out to be men, but female adepts quite often contribute by finishing the work with colored pigments.
Hairstyle and integumentary ornaments also indicate the social rank of the character. Eroded crusty patina, polychrome highlights. They are only presented to the public during annual ...


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390.00  312.00

Pende ritual statue
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Pende statue

Most of the pende statues were part of a fertility cult and were kept in a room in the chief's house. However, the purpose of this one is unknown to us. In the category of the most unlikely sculptures, this female figure frozen in a complex gesture, perched on a pedestal, is topped with buns that probably contain a therapeutic or magical ritual charge.

Cracks of desiccation, abrasions.
The Western Pende live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the Eastern have settled on the banks of the Kasai downstream from 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 ...


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Hemba "Buli" cup carrier
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Hemba statue

Sculpted in the style of the famous "master of Buli" of Hemba descent, this Luba/Hemba statue, represented in an attitude of concentrated meditation, presents a "mboko" cup destined for the sacred kaolin, an indispensable element for mediation with the spirits. The particularity of its plasticity characterizes the sculpture of the Buli region. Brown-black patina, cracks of desiccation and abrasions.

The Hemba settled in southeastern Zaire. Once under Luba rule, these farmers and hunters practice ancestor worship through effigies long attributed to the Luba. The statues singiti were kept by the fumu mwalo and honored during ceremonies during which sacrifices were offered to them. Alongside the authority of the hereditary chiefs, secret societies, male such as the ...


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