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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.

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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280.00  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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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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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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Appuie-nuque Luba Shankadi
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African art > Head rest > Luba neck press

Ex-collection German African art.

The Luba are renowned for their statuary and in particular their neck-bearings and stools made up of a cariatidic figure. The female effigy adorning this neck support to preserve the complex headdress of its owner refers to 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. The character embodying a spirit, endowed with a cascading hairstyle of the Shankadi tyle, is spotted in a crouching position, but on the hips. Velvety brown patina. The Luba (Baluba in Tchiluba) are a people of Central Africa. Their cradle is the Katanga, specifically the region of the Lubu River, hence the name.They were born from a secession of the Songhoy ethnic group, ...


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

Wearing a seaily that consisted of coral beads, from which laterally protrude from fins, this head with a circular border represents a ruler (oba) of Benin. Symbol of wealth, this coral reserved for kings and digesters of the palace had to be regularly anointed with the blood of the victims in order to acquire a magical power. The lateral appendages named ikekeze protrude from the crown. Golden beige patina.
Famous in benign art, altar heads, symbols of wisdom and receptacles of energy, were cast using the technique of lost wax like other bronzes. Benin art 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 ...

Ibibio/Eket panel mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Masque Ibibio

Ex-collection French African art.
Of unusual structure, this panel mask is made up of two face masks, flat, on which stand out similar faces. Pupils are pierced in a fairly realistic facies bleached with kaolin and associated with the spirit world. The characteristic of the lower part of the faces seems to be borrowed from the movable jaw masks linked to the Ekpo des Ibibio company, which is also found in the Ogoni. The Ekets also carve lunar masks for the Ekpo Society's agricultural festivals and funeral ceremonies. Crusty and matte patina. Secret societies are numerous among the Ibibio set up west of the Cross River. Without centralized government, their social organization is comparable to that of neighbouring Igbo. The cult of ancestors is under the authority of the ...


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Guéré Wheat Gla Mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Guéré Mask

African mask of the Wé, ethnic group of western Côte d'Ivoire. The Dan, to the north, and the Wé of the south (including the Guéré, the Wobé of the north-east and the Wé of Liberia called Kran or Khran ), have made frequent borrowings due to their proximity, making the attribute delicate. n specific parts. This mask revolves around a concave surface similar to that of some dan masks, but in this case exuberant features in the form of globular eyes, a stunned nose and a broad protruding mouth highlighted by a red tissue and revealing a dentition are added to it. This Guéré mask also features a large crown of cauris and a thick necklace that mixes fabric, bells, wooden sticks and raffia. The patina is dyed with honey and medium brown tones, and kaolin residue around the eyes. The masks of ...


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