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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.

Benin head
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Benin head

The African art of Benin is described as court art because it is closely associated with the king, known as the Oba. The tradition of bronze court objects from the Benin Kingdom dates back to the 14th century. The palace altars were topped with heads, statues, carved ivory tusks, bells and staves. They were used to commemorate an oba and to get in touch with his spirit. This late sculpture, reminiscent of those made when the queen died, features a queen mother of Benin named the Iyoba, whose neck is encircled with multiple necklaces of coral beads. Her high hairstyle was also made up of a mesh of pearls falling on either side of her face. After the birth of the future king, the queen was "removed" from power and could no longer father. But at the end of the 15th century the Oba Esigie ...


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Crest buffalo Mumuye
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Crest buffalo Mumuye

This bovine mask has simple shapes and a worn patina due to use.A wide mouth composed of two half rings is projected from the lower part of the mask. The horns present at the top of the skull make it possible to determine that it is about a representation of buffalo, animal recurrent in the artistic expression and in the African cosmogonies. The Mumuye are a people very famous for its stylized pieces, whether masks or statues.


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390.00  290.00

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

Statuette Nkisi, nkishi (pl. mankishi) at the top of which a horn has been inserted by the point. The power of the fetish, according to the beliefs of the Songye, would be reinforced by the presence of its accessories, metal and, or, various additions of materials, vegetable fibers, animal skins, dried fruits, etc... Beautiful abraded light brown patina.< br /> These protective fetishes for homes are among the most popular in Africa. The Nkisi plays the role of mediator between gods and men. The large specimens are the collective property of 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 on the left bank of the Lualaba. Their society is organized in a patriarchal way. Their ...


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150.00  130.00

Calao Senoufo
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Calao Senoufo

A large sculpture, with pure shapes, represents the mythical bird that is one of the five animals of the Senoufo cosmogony, and more precisely the calao. Evoked for morphological and behavioural criteria, it decorates, in its miniature version, many objects of African senoufo art. Its widely deployed wings reveal powerful lower limbs resting on a fragmented base. Its long beak, "interpreted as the figuration of the male sexual organ" perpetuating the life of the community, returns to land on the abdomen of the animal.
Linked to the Poro society that introduced young boys from the age of seven in a succession of three cycles lasting seven years, this sculpture of the Setien was deposited in the sacred enclosure.
A native repair is visible on one of the wings and a sign, or ...


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Kuba cup
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African art > Jars, amphoras, pots, matakam > Kuba cup

Prestigious sculptures in African art kuba.
The anthropomorphic cut refers to a female ancestor. In the Kuba groups, a wide variety of carved cups with figurative motifs are intended to highlight the prestige of their holder. The character whose head is hollowed out here adopts compacted proportions.
Satin patina.


The extremely organized and hierarchical Kuba society placed a king or nyim at its center, inspiring the statuary of the ethnic group.
This was considered to be of divine origin. Both head of the kingdom and of the bushoong chiefdom, he was attributed supernatural virtues from witchcraft or ancestors. He therefore ensured the sustainability of his subjects, whether through harvests, rain or the birth of children. These magical attributes were ...


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Yoruba Opo stake
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African art > Post, Toguna, Dogon, Lobi, Ambete, sogho, oron > Yoruba Opo stake

In African art, any element of everyday life can become an artistic medium, as illustrated by this yoruba veranda post.
A female character wears a tray on her head topped by a rider and his mount. Both have tear-shaped scarifications on the cheekbones as well as large globular eyes and strong mouths.
As often in Yoruba statuary, the patina is made up of bright colors. This polychromy has been very well preserved here.

The Yoruba society is very organized and has several associations whose roles vary. While the male society egbe reinforces social norms, the aro unites farmers. The gelede has more esoteric and religious aims. The notables come together in a society called esusu.


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Fang hem mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Fang hem mask

African art among the Fang.

The walls of this tribal heaum mask, sculpted by the Fang ethnic group, are decorated with four similar bas-relief faces. At the top, a cruciform ridge refers to the crest hairstyle worn by the Fang, and a central opening used to insert large feathers. Punctures were made to secure the accompanying raffia collar. Linked to the cult of ancestors, the Byery, this mask was responsible for discerning troublemakers, especially sorcerers. He's coming out these days for entertainment parties.

Patine mate, abraded wood, cracked. Incisions forming geometric patterns remain weakly distinct. Formerly known as Pahouins, the Fangs form a very large ethnic group established, following migrations, in Central Africa, in the three republics of Gabon, ...


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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 ...

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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245.00  180.00

Gong City
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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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Gong Bamileke
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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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250.00  175.00

Baoule colon
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Baoule colon

Commonly called "colon" but sometimes embodying a type of "ideal spouse" according to individual criteria, this male figure is coated with a polychrome patina (African Art Western Eyes, Baule", Vogel, p.253 to 257). Two types of statues are produced by the Baule in the ritual context: Waka-Sona statues, "being of wood" in Baule, evoke an assié oussou, being of the earth. They are part of a type of statues intended to be used as a medium tool by the diviners komien, the latter being selected by the spirits asye usu in order to communicate revelations from the beyond. The second type of statues, made according to the indications of the diviner, are the spouses of the afterlife, male, the Blolo bian or female, the blolo bia. This type of "companion" was abandoned or given up after the ...


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280.00  150.00

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 ...

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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380.00  280.00

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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