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African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Ogoni mask
This face mask named Elu consists of an oval face with thick raised lips of burgundy pigment, topped with an anthropomorphic figure that could symbolize an ancestor.
Abraded matte patina, desiccation cracks.
The Ogoni live along the coasts of Nigeria, near the mouth of the Cross-River, south of the Igbo and west of the Ibibio. Their sculptures vary from village to village, but are mainly famous for some of their masks with articulated jaws revealing sharp teeth. Their masks were usually worn at funerals, festivities accompanying plantings and harvests, but also nowadays to welcome distinguished guests. The acrobatic demonstrations linked to the celebration karikpo , and accompanied by the drum kere karikpo , were also an opportunity to exhibit various zoomorphic masks.
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Statuette Boyo
An effigy of a royal ancestor, this sculpture, decorated with decorative motifs, was placed, along with a female statuette, in the shelter of a small funeral hut. Orange brown satin patina, minimal chips.
According to the stories, the Boyos are of Luba descent, through an ancestor who emigrated with her brothers.
Migratory flows have mixed within the same territories of the Bembe, Lega, Buyu (Buye) or Boyo, Binji and Bangubangu. The Basikasingo , considered by some to be a Buyu sub-clan, are not, however, of Bembe origin, Biebuyck's work having made it possible to trace their history. Organized into lineages, they borrowed the Bwami association from the Lega. The bembé and boyo tribal traditions are relatively similar: they venerate the spirits of nature, of water ...
African art > Jewelry, ornament > Mossi Bracelet
Prestigious adornment in copper alloy, streaked with grooves, embellished with spirals, and furnished with points.
This metal was supposed to take on a sacred and therefore protective character.
Height on base: 23 cm.
Population established on both sides of the Black Volta in Burkina Faso and Mali, the Bwa generally distinguish three endogamous castes: blacksmiths, griots and farmers. Blacksmiths also work with wood, mediate in conflict, and mediate with the supernatural world.
The African art sculptures of the Bobo, Bwa, Kurumba and Mossi, living in Burkina Faso, frequently take up and combine stylized elements borrowed from men, animals or even insects. It is the spirits of nature who are believed to determine an individual's well-being and prosperity, and adversity will be ...
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Bamana mask
Ti-wara masks in African art.
It would be an animal - genius called Ciwara who would have taught the Bambara to cultivate the land. The latter remember the myth through crest masks, of which this example forms a rare abstract version from the Sikasso region, accompanied by stylized female figures.
Velvety matte patina, cracks.
Worn at the top of the head and held in place by a basketry hat, these crests accompanied the dancers during the rituals of the tòn, an association dedicated to agricultural work.
The masks traversed the field while leaping in order to drive out from this one the nyama, malefic emanations, and to detect any danger, or to flush out the malevolent genies who could ravish the soul of the cultivated plants as well as the life force of their ...
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Yoruba statue
This African sculpture naturalistic, allowing according to the Yoruba communication with the afterlife, features as a maternal figure one of the many female goddesses, the earth goddess Onilé ("owner of the House"), guarantor of longevity, peace, and resources, and linked to the powerful Ogboni society among the Yoruba Egba and Ijebu. It could also symbolize Orunmila , goddess of divination.
Intended to be enthroned on an altar, she was worshipped by members of the powerful Ogboni, or Osugbo, society in charge of justice.
Satin polychrome patina, abrasions.
Centered on the veneration of its gods, or orisà, the Yoruba religion relies on artistic sculptures with coded messages (aroko).
The kingdoms of Oyo and Ijebu arose following the demise of the Ife ...
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Kongo Statuette
Naturalist sculpture comprising two subjects, one of which has a glazed cavity on the abdomen. This character could symbolize the clan. Brown satin patina, erosions and cracks.
A clan of the Kongo group, the Yombe are established on the west coast of Africa, in the south-west of the Republic of Congo and in Angola. Their statuary includes remarkable maternities.
The Vili , the Lâri, the Sûndi, the Woyo, the Bembe, the Bwende, the Yombé and the Kôngo formed the Kôngo group, led by King ntotela . Their kingdom reached its peak in the 16th century with the trade in ivory, copper and the slave trade. With the same beliefs and traditions, they produced statuary endowed with codified gestures in keeping with their vision of the world.
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Ngbandi Fetish
The many carved objects are, among the Ngandi, related to hunting and magic. Some represent the Ngbirondo spirit and act as guardians of the village.
Funerary statues were also used, and sculptures of couple yangba and his sister, equivalent to the Seto and Nabo ancestors of the Ngbaka.
The Ngbaka form a homogeneous people in the north-west of the DRC, south of Ubangui. The Ngbandi live in the east (on the left bank of the Oubangui) and the Ngombe in the south. The initiation of young people, "gaza" or "ganza" (which gives strength) among the Ngbaka and the Ngbandi, has many similarities, through endurance tests, songs and dances. The rites required the presence of sculptures of ancestors.
Semi-matte patina, erosions.
African art > African statues : tribal fetish, maternity > Dogon Statuette
African figure of undetermined sex, whose narrow silhouette has a rectilinear bust. The arms carved in fine relief run along the body, forming an angle at the height of the bent knees. Refined piece, imbued with the elegance of Dogon sculpture.
Dark oiled patina, abrasions.
Carved for the most part to order placed by a family, the Dogon statues can also be the object of worship on the part of the whole community when they commemorate, for example, the foundation of the village. However, their functions remain little known.
Alongside Islam, Dogon religious rites are organized around four main cults: the Lébé, relating to fertility, under the spiritual authority of the Hogon, the Wagem, ancestor worship under the authority of the patriarch, the Binou invoking the spirit world and led ...
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Goma Mask
Offering an animal aspect, this African mask associated with the butende initiation and circumcision ritual has deep white orbits that separate, like a beak, a pointed nose. Influenced by the Bembe, the Goma borrowed certain characters from their African masks.
Abraded patina, flaking residue of white clay, cracks and erosions.
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 tendency are marked by the influence of their neighboring ethnic groups in the Lake Tanganyika region, the Lega, the Buyu, the Goma, etc. Indeed, like the Lega, the Bembe had a Bwami association responsible for initiation and structuring for society, but if the Bwami was exclusive among the Lega, other "bukabo" or ...
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Tabwa Mask
Bulky African mask of the Tabwas referring to a hero of mythology, symbolizing besides an ambivalent character, also a principle of power. Careful inlays of metal leaf and cowries enhance the toothed mouth, the dilated nostrils and the structure of the head. Black satin patina, small accidents.
The Tabwa ("scarify" and "write") constitute an ethnic group present in the South-East of the DRC, around Lake Tanganyika. Animists, their beliefs are anchored around the ngulu, spirits of nature present in plants and rocks. The tribes of this region, such as the Tumbwe, worship the Mipasi ancestors through sculptures held by chiefs or sorcerers. A magic charge ( dawa) was introduced at the top of the head of the statues. Soothsayers-healers used this type of object to reveal witchcraft and ...
African art > Chair, palaver seat, throne, stool > Kolo Stool
Among the elements of African furniture in daily use, a senoufo stool from the Ivory Coast, whose slightly curved, oval-shaped seat is supported by four thick conical legs. This type of stool for individual use, carved in heavy wood, was used to wash clothes at the river. Beautiful golden patina, minor cracks and erosions.
Mainly farmers, the Senoufo group inhabit a region of savannahs that covers southern Mali and Burkina Faso, and northern Côte d'Ivoire. It encompasses about fifty sub-ethnic groups. The sSenufo speak a Voltaic language Gur, Gour, like the Lobi and the Koulango.
Living in a restricted area, the sénufo sculptor, whose training spanned seven years, began by making everyday objects, then, little by little, sported sculptures larger than more important. Initiatory ...
African art > African mask, tribal art, primitive art > Boyo Mask
Edged with a fine crenellated border, this African mask adopts a diamond shape on which the features stretch, contrasting tones enhancing the structure.
Matt patina, gaps on the internal edges.
According to the stories, the Boyos are of Luba descent, through an ancestor who emigrated with her brothers.
Migratory flows have mixed within the same territories Bembe, Lega, Buyu (Buye) or Boyo, Binji and Bangubangu. The Basikasingo, considered by some to be a Buyu sub-clan, are however not of Bembe origin, Biebuyck's work having made it possible to trace their history. Organized into lineages, they borrowed the association of Bwami from the Lega. The Bembe and Boyo tribal traditions are relatively similar: they venerate the spirits of nature, water specifically among the Boyo, but ...
African art > Spoons, ladles > Bwende Spoon
In addition to the famous niombo, sometimes giant anthropomorphic funerary "packages" representing the deceased, the Bwende, inspired by the Kongos and the Bembe, sculpted various prestigious objects, such as this spoon whose ample cuilleron is surmounted by a bust depicting an ancestor.
Height on base: 47 cm.
Glossy orange-brown patina, desiccation cracks.
The Vili, the Lâri, the Sûndi, the Woyo, the Bembe, the Bwende, the Yombé and the Kôngo constituted the Kôngo group, led by King Ntotela. Their kingdom reached its peak in the 16th century with the trade in ivory, copper and the slave trade. With the same beliefs and traditions, they produced a statuary endowed with a codified gesture in relation to their vision of the world. The Bwendé sculptures were strongly inspired ...