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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.

Large Royal Altar Head Benin
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Large Royal Altar Head Benin

Ex private English collection of African art.

Altar heads are famous pieces in benign art. Like the other bronzes, they were cast using the lost wax technique. These pieces are very loaded with details and patterns. This royal head with realistic features has facial scarifications and many finely detailed ornaments. A recurring feature, the warhead headdress is imposing and beautifully decorated.

The art of Benin is described as a court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as oba. The tradition of Ifè's bronze classroom objects dates back to the 14th century.

The many bronze heads and statues created by the artists of Benin were reserved for the exclusive use of the inhabitants of the royal palace and, more often than not, placed on ...

Small Tsogho mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Tsogho Mask

Ex-collection French African tribal art
Dred volumes and delicately treated features are the prerogative of this reduced mask. Satin patina.
Appeared to the Okuyi African masks of Punu ethnic groups tribes Shira , African masks produced by peripheral groups, Vuvi, Galoa and Mitsogho, and the Masangos located east of the Mitsoghos, are also covered with white pigments with an apotropaic purpose. br / The Mitsogho, Sogho, is established in a forested region on the right bank of the Ngoumé River in central Gabon. The male initiation society Bwiti which has a system of reliquaries comparable to that of the Fang and Kota, formed the cohesion of the Mitsogho families. Their masks were displayed at the funeral, and stored in the men's initiation house ebanza . The Vuvi produced ...


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220.00  220.00

Kota ritual gong
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African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Gong City

A traditional accessory accompanying the various ritual ceremonies, this gong is topped by a figure of copper-plated wooden reliquary, whose design would be characteristic of the Obamba (subgroup kota according to some) or The Mindoumou (or Ondoumbo) of Haut-Ogooué in the north of the Gabon.La patina attests to the age of this piece.
The Bakota live in the eastern part of Gabon, which is rich in iron ore, and some in the Republic of Congo. The blacksmith, in addition to wood carving, made tools for agricultural work as well as ritual weapons. Sculptures playing the role of 'medium' between the living and the dead who watched over the descendants, were associated with the rites of the bwete , comparable to those of the Fang. They are sometimes bifaces, the mbulu-viti , symbolizing ...


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225.00  225.00

Double ritual bell Bamileke Kwifoyn
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African art > Used objects, pulleys, boxes, loom, awale > Gong Bamileke

Weapons, jewellery, coins, metal objects are inseparable from traditional African art. Metallurgy is intimately associated with the founding myths in many African cultures, such as blacksmiths who became kings (Zaire), the hammer anvil being the symbol of power among the Luba. Cult accessories, metal alloy gongs, some highly decorated, take on a wide variety of shapes. This double gong, in its simplicity, was a sacred instrument and the emblem of one of the many male societies of the people of Grassland, the Kwifoyn , whose headquarters adjoined the royal palace. The tinkling of wooden chopsticks on hollow metal heralded the beginning of ceremonies: communication with the supernatural world, ancestors, deities, could be established. Also objects of prestige, they accompanied the respect ...


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Benin Uhunmwun elao commemorative head
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Bénin head

African art from Benin is described as court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as the Oba. The tradition of bronze court objects in the Benin kingdom dates back to the 14th century. The many bronze alloy heads and statues created by Benin artists were reserved for the exclusive use of the inhabitants of the royal palace and, more often than not, placed on altars consecrated by each new Oba. These rectangular altars were topped with heads, statues, carved ivory tusks, bells and sticks. They were used to commemorate an oba and to make contact with his spirit. This late sculpture, reminiscent of those made at the death of the queen, depicts a queen mother of Benin named the Iyoba, whose neck is encircled with multiple coral bead necklaces. Her high headdress also ...

Luluwa ancestor figure
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Lulua

Ex-collection of Belgian African art.

Used in the rituals associated with the cult buanga bua bukalenge , this male figure representing an ancestor bears abundant facial and body scarification, a common practice in late 19th century Central Africa. These marks were signs of beauty with symbolic value, revealing extraordinary physical and moral qualities. The concentric circles suggest not only great stars, but also hope. " These statues of warriors, whose right-angled arms would be associated with vigor, participated in the investiture and funeral of chiefs. Scaled granular patina. Cracks of desiccation.
Lulua Lulua is a generic term, referring to the large number of heterogeneous peoples that populate the region near the Lulua River, between the Kasai and Sankuru ...


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280.00  280.00

Lobi/Birifor Pottery
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African art > Terracotta, jar, amphora, funerary urn > Lobi pottery

This hemispherical container, a jar equipped with a neck, is said to fall into the category of "bulabir", which become sacred after the death of their owner (Daniela Bologno). The populations of the same cultural region, grouped under the name "lobi", form one fifth of the inhabitants of Burkina Faso. They are not very numerous in Ghana and have also settled in the north of the Ivory Coast. It was at the end of the 18th 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, who are supposed to protect them, with the help of the diviner, against a host of plagues. ...


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Prestigious figure Bena Lulua
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Luluwa Statue

Used during the rites associated with the cult buanga bua bukalenge , this male figure representing an ancestor sports abundant facial and bodily scarifications, a common practice in the late 19th century in Central Africa. These marks were signs of beauty of symbolic value, revealing extraordinary physical and moral quality. Concentric circles suggest not only the great stars, but also hope. " These statues of warriors, whose right-angle arm position would be associated with vigour, participated in the investitures and funerals of the chiefs. Black brown velvety patina. Indigenous restoration using staples at the top.
Lulua is a generic term, which refers to a large number of heterogeneous peoples that populate the area near the Lulua River, between the Kasai and Sankuru rivers. ...

Statue of Igbo divinity
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue of Igbo divinity

Ex-collection of English-African art

The Igbo venerate a considerable number of deities known as alusi, or agbara, considered to be the descendants of Chuku, or Chukwu, and as such are intermediaries to whom sacrifices such as that kola nuts, silver, kaolin, are granted in order to enjoy their favors.These sculptures produced in several regions range from about forty centimeters to a human size, and are adorned with aristocratic attributes more or less elaborate.The sculptors turn out to be men, but female followers often contribute by completing the work with colored pigments.In the case of the statue presented, articulated arms, when they were positioned horizontally, indicated the will to receive the offering of the adepts, and integumentary headdress and ornaments ...


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Yaka polychrome face mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Yaka Mask

This African Yaka mask with a handle sports the famous trumpet nose, a distinctive feature of the masks associated with the initiation ceremonies of societies Ngoni and Yiwilla . Their design aroused the creativity of the sculptors whom the chefs rewarded for their talent. The raffia beard is still present, and a wicker frame, on which cotton strips and ropes have been attached, forms a rigid headdress at the top. Surface erosions and traces of xylophages. Hierarchical and authoritarian, composed of fearsome warriors, the Yaka society, now established on the banks of the Waamba river in the south-west of the R.D.C. (Western Kasai), was ruled by lineage leaders with the right to life and death over their Topics. Hunting and the prestige that ensues are an opportunity today for the Yaka to ...


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Statuette Baoulé Waka Sona Blolo Bia
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Baule figure

The "doubles reversed" in the African art sculptures of the Baule, A sixty ethnic groups populate Côte d'Ivoire, including the Baoulé, in the centre, Akans from Ghana, people of the savannah, practicing hunting and farming while like the Gouro from which they borrowed ritual cults and carved masks. Two types of statues are produced by the Baoulé , Baulé , in the ritual framework: The statues Waka-Sona , " be wood " in baoulé, evoke a asssou oussou , be of the earth. They are part of a type of statues intended to be used as a medium tool by the komien soothsayers, the latter being selected by the spirits asye usu in order to communicate the revelations of the afterlife. The second type of statues are the ", the "of the afterlife, male, the Blolo bian or feminine, the blolo bia , which are ...

Gouro Zaouli Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Gouro Zaouli Mask

African art Gouro.
Among the group of Mande of the south, in central Côte d'Ivoire, the Gouro have been using a family of African masks associated with the dance Zaouli since the 1950s. Like the Goli masks of the Baoulé, all Guro masks come in two zoomorphic masks followed by a third anthropomorph, which is considered the wife of the mask zamblé , the Gu . The Gu , whose function is apotropaic, represents a young woman with the criteria of beauty specific to Guro, especially facial scarifications and lime teeth. The zaouli incarnate a mature man with a beard represented by raffia cords attached to the lower perforations of the mask contours. The Zamblé, on the other hand, embodies a bush animal, usually an antelope. The forehead occupies three-quarters of the top volume of this ...


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Eket Crest Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Masque Eket

Ex-Belgian African art collection.
Used during the Masquerades related to the Ogbom and honoring the deity of the earth, these masks were stored in the smoke ducts of the houses in order to be protected from insects. Only the men wore african crest masks during the dances that took place in front of the altars. The half-moon eyes, the shape of the upturned nose accompanied by a thin mouth are characteristic of Eket masks. Grainy black brown skate. The Ekets, based in southeastern Nigeria, are a subgroup of the Ibibio ethnic group known for its expressive masks. It is a patrilineal society whose villages are governed by the Ekpo Ndem Isong , a group of elders and heads of extended families. Their decisions are reinforced by members of the Ekpo society who act as messengers of the ...


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Luba Shankadi neck support
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African art > Head rest > Luba neck press

The Shankadi belong to the Luba group, and have the same associations and structures. Their mostly realistic statuary is characterized by spectacular hairstyles, a smooth surface, lower limbs of lesser size. The hairstyle "en cascade" illustrates one of the different braided compositions fashionable in Zaire in the 1800s, highlighting the social status of the wearer. The female effigy symbolizes Luba royalty, the neck supports were also used to support the heads of the deceased, and sometimes, according to Albert Maesen, buried in their place. Hot brown oiled patina, ochre residue.
The Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa. Their cradle is the Katanga, specifically the Lubu River region, hence the name (Baluba, which means \


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Glé Bété facial mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bété Mask

Ex-collection French African art.
The Bété are a people of farmers based on the left bank of the Sassandra River in the south-west of the Ivory Coast. Their almost non-existent statuary of African tribal art gives way to African masks particularly striking in their forms and volumes.
These masks introduced by the Niabwa were carved in order to provoke psychological conditions conducive to rituals. Each of them had a secret name and materialized the powers of the forest. At the disposal of the chef, they were exhibited during funeral ceremonies or on the occasion of the great feasts of meetings between several villages.
Once he was a mask of war and had the mission of preparing men for battle. This mask is equipped with horns turning over the mouth like the spider's paws ...


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Feathered hair "Juju" Bamileke
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African art > Headdresses and hats, headdresses > Bamileke Hat

The sumptuous Bamileke headdresses in African art.
African Prestige Parure, worn by notables, this copy offers a purple feather trim.
These elephant dance, tso, was the occasion of the elephant dance, where members of the society Kuosi, Kwosi, wore these impressive headdresses. They were worn over a multi-coloured costume consisting of a large beaded mask with large circular ears, mbap mteng , a fabric cloth, ndop , adorned with monkey fur and a leopard belt. These dances took place during festive ceremonies and funerals. Hats were once made from parrot feathers, now wild guinea fowl, whose rarity came at a high cost. The feathers are attached to fabric-covered wooden strips, placed around a circular frame bounded by a basket of wicker fibers. A society originally composed of ...

Baga janiform crest mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Baga Mask

Baga religious practices and African art. Mixed with Nalu and Landuman , Baga live along the coast of Guinea-Bissau in flooded swamp regions six months a year. They believe in a creative god called Nagu, Naku , which they do not represent, and which is accompanied by a male spirit whose name is Somtup . Apart from the famous Nimba mask, they have created a powerful mask, a hybrid of snake, gazelle, chameleon and crocodile, in order to communicate with the spirits of the forest.
The Baga use various crest masks in the image of young girls, the tiyambo evoking a young puberty and the yombifissa or "belle hair". The red color chosen for the skin is associated with idealized clear skin. The long hair gathered in braids refers to the hairstyle worn by Fulani women or limba. But this mask ...


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Feathered hair "Juju" Bamileke
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African art > Headdresses and hats, headdresses > Bamileke Hat

The sumptuous Bamileke headdresses in African art.
African Prestige Show, worn by the notables, this copy offers a garnish of blue feathers. It was during the elephant dance, tso, that the members of the society Kuosi, Kwosi, sported these impressive headdresses. They were worn over a multi-coloured costume consisting of a large beaded mask with large circular ears, mbap mteng , a fabric cloth, ndop , adorned with monkey fur and a leopard belt. These dances took place during festive ceremonies and funerals. Hats were once made from parrot feathers, now wild guinea fowl, whose rarity came at a high cost. The feathers are attached to fabric-covered wooden strips, placed around a circular frame bounded by a basket of wicker fibers. A society originally composed of valiant warriors, ...

Idoma crest mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Idoma Crest

Ex-collection Belgian African art.
Idoma live at the confluence of Benué and Niger. There are 500,000 farmers and traders. The influence of their Igbo neighbours, the Cross River and Igala ethnic groups, generated great tribal similarities and stylistic borrowings. The royal lineage members of their society oglinye , glorifying courage, use masks and crests during funerals and festivities. They also produce fertility statues with bleached faces and exhibiting incised teeth. Janiform crests are usually displayed at the funerals of notables. Members of the male society Kwompten , meanwhile, used statues named goemai as part of healing rituals. A long wicker neck directs the gaze towards a head representing an idealized woman, whose braids are held together by a braid to form a ...


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Gelede Yoruba Mask-Heaume
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Yoruba Mask

The Gelede in African art.
In Nigeria, also in Benin, this African mask in the form of a janiform hem is accompanied by its costume in cotton cloth and colorful velvet. It is used for the rejoicing dances of the Gelede society, and on the occasion of the funeral of its followers. Two smaller faces fit sideways on the mask, associated with one of the many gods of the Yoruba pantheon.These masks occur in pairs, each with a specific name. Under the mask, two openings lined with cauris have been arranged in the fabric for the dancer's vision. The Gelede country in Nigeria pays tribute to mothers through a cult of fertility, 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 profit but also ...


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Mossi Nakomse Statues
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Mossi Nakomse Statues

Former Private Belgian collection of African art.

The body is straight, the arms hang along the body. The face has scarifications on its outline. A very fine sagittal crest is observed and engraved with lines simulating the hair. The patina is raw and has beautiful traces of desication.

The Mossi society was structured and hierarchical by its invaders as early as the 15th century. The two populations mixed and progeny over the decades The name Nakomse refers to the descendants of the Islamic horsemen, among whom political leaders were always chosen. Religious leaders were always descended from the natives, also known as Tengabibisi.

It is not surprising to find in the Mossi and Dogon some similarities in the statuary and aesthetics of masks. Indeed, the ...


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