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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.

Female/male Luba figure
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Luba figure

Hybrid anthropomorphic sculpture in which one of the faces represents a man while the second offers feminine characteristics. Each of the characters has discreet body scarifications composed of dotted lines. Glossy brown-black patina. Cracks.


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380.00  304.00

Songye Kifwebe mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Songye mask

The asymmetry of the powerful features of this tribal mask participates in the strength that it expresses. Large bands of contrasting colors, locally abraded, mark the surface. Eroded contours. Abrasions.
 Three types of African Kifwebe art masks are listed: the masculine (kilume) generally with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) would present a more modest crest or even absent, and finally the largest embodying power (kia ndoshi).
Also practiced by the Luba, the cult kifwebe ("mask" in Songye) acted as a secret police force for power, so as to control individuals through magic. Worn with a long suit and a long beard made of natural fibers, Kifwebe masks additionally appeared during crucial stages of initiation ceremonies at the new moon.
The Songye came from ...


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240.00  192.00

Ibeji Yoruba figure
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Yoruba figure

Ibeji statuettes, incarnation of the missing child in African Yoruba art.
Large, almond-shaped eyes, deep scarification marks on the face, and braids sprouting from a high crest, generally illustrate the aesthetic traditions of African Yoruba art. Solidly set on a flat support, this male effigy, represented naked, has a shiny brown patina with brown patina with pink ochre highlights.
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. These African statuettes named ibeji are then treated as the missing child would have been. It is the mother who must care for them; she may wash and feed them regularly. If she dies, the remaining twin takes over. Considered as much more than a ...


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240.00  192.00

Figure masculine Lulua, Bena Luluwa
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Lulua

The different types of statues Luluwa,Lulua, or even Bena Lulua, presenting multiple scarifications, glorify the local chiefs, maternity , fertility and the female figure. This prestigious figure is associated with the cult buanga bua bukalenge . The prominent, striated abdomen, center of the body and "object of all solicitudes" (The power of the sacred , M. Faïk-Nzuji )and the face, are strewn with lozenges, erogenous and symbolic protruding scarifications, circles and rectangles in checkerboards. A conical summit appendage representing a high braid rises to the level of the fontanel.
Gray grainy patina with localized erosions revealing a light wood. It is in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo that the Lulua , or Béna Lulua ,from West Africa settled. Their social ...


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Figure of reliquary Kota Mbulu Ngulu
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African art > Reliquaries, statues > Kota Reliquary

A ritual, stylized figure embodying the ancestor, a coat of arms also for the clan, this sculpture is generally distinguished by the shape of the headdress, which varies according to region. The Kota inhabit the eastern part of Gabon, which is rich in iron ore, and some in the Republic of Congo. The blacksmith, in addition to woodcarving, made tools for agricultural work as well as ritual weapons. The sculptures playing the role of "medium" between the living and the dead who watched over the descendants, were associated with the rites to the bwete, comparable to those of the Fang . They are sometimes bifacial,the mbulu-viti, symbolizing both the masculine and feminine aspect. These types of pieces, named ngulu, acted as "guardians" of the relics above the baskets containing the mortal ...

Figures of primordial Dogon couple in bronze
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Dogon statue

Long silhouettes, rising from a rectangular base, representing statues of ancestors. These African Dogon statues, in bronze, evoke the Nommos, mythical beings at the origin of creation among the Dogon of Mali. Their surface is hammered with notches. Orange brown patina.
The Dogon are a people renowned for their cosmogony, their esotericism, their myths and legends. Their population is estimated at about 300,000 souls living southwest of the Niger loop in the Mopti region of Mali (Bandiagara, Koro, Banka), near Douentza and part of northern Burkina (northwest of Ouahigouya). The villages are often perched on the top of scree on the side of hills, with a unique architecture. The history of the migrations and settlements of the Dogon (about ten main groups, about fifteen ...

Box of oracles Gbékré sé Baoulé
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African art > Jars, amphoras, pots, matakam > Baule box

African divinatory art.
Destined for a practice still in use today in the Baule region of the southwest, the object consists of a meditating tutelary figure, visibly in meditation, leaning against a circular receptacle with a floor. A mouse, considered to be the messenger of the deities of the earth, lived in the lower compartment of the object and the successive arrangement of the elements it moved was read as an answer to the question put to the diviner. The piece is also equipped with a carrying strap. A metal plate, partially torn, lines the bottom of the box. Shaded brown grainy patina, partially abraded.

Ref: Mathilde Buratti , "Boxes used for divination by mice".

During the 18th century, united under a single banner, this Akan people was, according to ...

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Kusu fetish statuette
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statue Kusu

The figures of individual protection such as our copy, used by the Hemba and the Kusu, were inspired by songye fetishes. The magical charge, composed of ingredients of various origins, is in this case inserted in the cavity at the top of the head. Satin patina, abrasions and cracks. The Kusu established on the left bank of the Lualaba river borrowed the artistic traditions of the Luba and the Hemba and have a caste system similar to that of the Luba .  The Hemba have settled in southeastern Zaire, on the right bank of the Lualaba River. Formerly under the domination of the Luba, these farmers and hunters practice the cult of ancestors by means of effigies long attributed to the Luba. The statues singiti were preserved by the fumu mwalo and honoured in ceremonies during ...


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190.00  152.00

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

Fetish statue Nkisi , nkishi (pl. mankishi ) anthropomorphic desacralized, the umbilicus hollowed out having no magical charge At the top of his skull stood a horn, sealing the orifice into which ritual elements were also introduced. Light brown satin patina.

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. Their history is inseparable from that of the Luba to whom they are related through ...


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150.00  120.00

Lega mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lega mask

Ex-collection of Belgian African art.

This African Lega mask indicated the stage that its holder had reached in the Bwami, an apprenticeship society made up of different grades, and which was joined by wives whose spouses had reached the third level, that of ngandu . Lustrous black-brown patina, residues encrusted with kaolin. Desiccation cracks. Height on base: 37 cm.
. Within the Lega, the Bwami society, open to men and women, organized social and political life. There were up to seven levels of initiation, each associated with emblems. Following their exodus from Uganda during the 17th century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also known as Warega, these individuals live in autonomous villages surrounded by palisades, usually on ...


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150.00  120.00

Bembe mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bembe mask

Variant of the bembe mask, with large whitened orbital cavities. The tip of the nose is erased to leave room for two holes indicating the nostrils. The narrow mouth is just incised. These masks accompanied the rituals of passage during the Bwami circumcision ceremonies. Two-tone patina. Erosions.
Height on base: 37 cm. The Bembe ethnic group is a Luba branch that left the Congo in the 18th century to settle near Tanzania and Burundi. Their society and artistic tendencies are marked by the influence of their neighboring ethnic groups in the Lake Tanganyika region, the Lega, the Buyu, etc. Indeed, like the Lega, the Bembe had a Bwami association responsible for initiation and structuring the society, but while the Bwami was exclusive among the Lega, other ...


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280.00  224.00

Mambila bronze bust
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Mambila bronze

This bronze sculpture, placed here on a metal ring, evokes the monoliths, architectural stone constructions, of the Cameroonian Grasslands region. These commemorative stelae were made primarily for religious and funerary purposes. It is also reminiscent, in its design and decorative motifs related to tribal ritual markings, of the funerary stones atals of the Bakor, and Ekoi, of the neighboring Grasslands regions around the Cross River in Nigeria. The bronze depicts a figure, ancestor or mythical hero, wearing a notable headdress. The representation of the protruding umbilicus insists on the filiation. Despite their small numbers, the thirty thousand Mambila (or Mambilla, Mambere, Nor, Torbi, Lagubi, Tagbo, Tongbo, Bang, Ble, Juli, Bea)(the "men", in Fulani), settled in the northwest ...


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450.00  360.00

 Bwa Mossi mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bwa mask

Flat and circular, imposing by its dimensions, this African mask is engraved with rhombic motifs arranged in successive circular friezes. It is painted with a matte polychromy, burgundy red, white kaolin and dark brown. The mouth in which the teeth are represented is hollowed out to allow the dancer to see. It would symbolize a totem bird of different Mossi clans. Crack of desiccation. Matt patina.
The African art sculptures of the Bobo , Bwa , Kurumba and Mossi , living in Burkina Faso , frequently take up and combine stylized elements borrowed from humans, animals or even insects. It is the spirits of nature that are supposed to determine the well-being and prosperity of an individual, and adversity will be seen as the result of neglect of collective rites. It is ...


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Statuette Ere Ibedji Yoruba
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African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Ibeji Yoruba

Wearing a headdress of braids, this male statuette, perched on a circular base, has a thick wooden torque and necklaces of various beads. The shiny patina is mahogany colored. Indigo pigments on the headdress. Carved according to the indications of the Ifa transmitted to the diviner, the babalawo, the Ibedji statuettes played the role of substitute for the death of the child. The statues are then treated as the missing child would have been. It is the mother who must take care of them; she anoints them with oil and feeds them regularly. If she disappears, the remaining twin takes over.
Considered as more than a physical representation of a loved one, linked to the cult of Shango, the ibedji statues are believed to influence the life and prosperity of the family, and the ...

Bira, Hunde mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bira mask

The polychrome patterns, originally applied with the finger by the ritualist named ishumi , remain almost imperceptible on the surface of our bira mask.
Indeed, although masks decorated with dotted lines often originated in northern D.R.C., clans in the Utuiri region also made use of similar masks featuring the traditional designs applied to bodies and faces during ritual ceremonies.
Height on base: 44cm.
The Bira or Hunde and the Komo of Congo belong to the same ethnic entity and their last migration dates back to the 18th century. Their region of origin would be the Ubangi, even Chad, and even according to some, the Nile basin (Siffer).they speak an archaic Bantu language. They speak an archaic Bantu language. Settled in Ituri, there are the Bira who have ...


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380.00  304.00

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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240.00  192.00

Sao Sokoto Putchu Guinadji rider
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African art > Bronze, leopard, messenger, warrior, statue, pirogues > Sao bronze

In African art, Sao Sokoto inspired works are mostly marked by the equestrian world. Within the ethnic group, small examples of horsemen, generally made of bronze, are cast and worn as talismans, with a patina and a lustrous finish. They are considered above all as a remedy against possession by evil spirits. The horse represents the spirit of the person who is possessed, while the genie that possesses them is symbolized by the rider.
Subjected to successive assaults by their neighbors from Kanem and then by hordes from the East, the Sao had to abandon their lands to settle in the northwest of Cameroon where they mixed with the natives, thus giving birth to an ethnic group called Kotoko. More than an ethnic group, the Sao are a civilization that has now disappeared. They ...


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40.00  32.00

Boa Bavobongo mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Boa mask

Consisting of different planes of contrasting colors and provided with large ears, this African mask kpongadomba or " Pongdudu " was supposed to make invulnerable. Its appearance wanted to terrify the enemy. This mask of African art kpongadomba of Boa was ordered by the chief kumu who offered it to the most valiant warrior . It was then kept in the hut of his wife. The oversized ears are perforated like the earlobes of the eastern Boa once were. The "bavobongo" has a mouth lined with teeth figured by sticks, and conferred an impressive appearance on its wearer, accentuated by the contrast of colors. Velvety patina. Close to the Mangbetu and the Zande, the Boa inhabit the savannah in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Some Boa would have used these masks for ...


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Lega Bwami mask
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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Lega mask

The sobriety of the African masks of the Lega. This African mask is used during the initiation rites of the Bwami society. It is open to both men and women. The center bears residues of kaolin. The passage of a rank indicated the acquisition of a certain wisdom and individual morality. Abraded two-tone patina. Height on base : 38 cm. Within the Lega, the Bwami society open to men and women,organized social and political life. There were up to seven levels of initiation, each associated with emblems. Following their exodus from Uganda during the seventeenth century, the Lega settled on the west bank of the Lualaba River in the DRC. Also known as Warega, they live in self-contained villages surrounded by palisades, usually on hilltops. The role of chief, kindi, is held by ...


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380.00  304.00

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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180.00  144.00

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

Statuette-fetish Nkisi , nkishi (pl. mankishi ) featuring a busty, masked figure. Glossy black patina. Slightly missing, desiccation 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 larger examples are collectively owned by 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. Their history is inseparable from that of the Luba to whom they are related through common ancestors. The Songyes have created impressive statues with powerful features that are often used during secret ...


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190.00  152.00





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