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Each work presented on this site of tribal art comes from private European and American collections. All of them have been meticulously appraised, and are accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, and are worthy of inclusion in the most beautiful collections of African art.

A permanent exhibition

Launched on June 1, 2019, the permanent exhibition "When the primitive arts express themselves" welcomes you from Monday to Saturday in the premises of Essentiel Galerie, to allow you to physically discover a wide variety of objects, regularly renewed. Do not hesitate to come and visit it at 73 rue de Tournai 7333 Tertre in Belgium. Phone: +32 65 529 100

The prices

Our knowledge of the tribal art market, based on 35 years of experience, has led us to make it a point of honor to always be the most competitive. We can thus, guarantee you the best prices.

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Latest tribal artworks

Punu mask of the Okuyi dance
Tribal art > African mask > Punu mask

Braids organized in shells cover the face of this punu mask devoid of the traditional "mabinda" scarifications. Carved in soft wood, this mask is representative of the African art productions of the Punu. Desiccation cracks, erosions.
The white masks of Gabon, itengi , (pl. Bitengi) were associated with the various secret societies of Gabon, including the Bwiti, Bwete, and the Mwiri ("to lead"), the latter ranging from several levels of initiation, to which all Punu men belonged, and whose emblem was the caiman (hence, for some, the motif with saurian scales). The punu did not involve any mask in the rituals of Bwiti, unlike the Tsogo. This object, evocation of a deceased young woman, was exhibited during the dance called Okuyi. These powerful secret societies, which also ...

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Carved table with Dogon ram caryatid
Tribal art > African Chair > Dogon table

Traditional African furniture.
A figure of a ram supports the top of this sculpted monoxyl table, polished with use, offering a light brown golden patina.
Exceptional piece, acquired in situ.
Desiccation cracks.
The Dogon are a people renowned for their cosmogony, their esotericism, their myths and legends. Their population is estimated at around 300,000 souls living in the 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 at the top of the scree on the side of the hills, according to a unique architecture. The history of the migrations and settlements of the Dogon (ten main groups, fifteen different languages), bears on ...

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Boli Bambara fetish
Tribal art > African Statues > Boli fetish

Called boli ( pl. boliw ), buffalo, in African art, this fetish of varying size plays a central role in the ritual life of the Mandingo region. There are pocket "Boliw", and others that belong to chieftaincies, initiation societies such as the Kono and Komo male initiation associations whose members progress through a process spanning decades, and even states.
The main function of a boli is to accumulate and control the natural life force called nyama for the spiritual benefit of the community . Used as altars or performed during dance performances , they are creations conceived from revelations miraculously granted to the bush genies and transmitted to the diviners , employing active amalgams from nature and , or organic : daliluw. Animal bones, plant materials, honey and ...

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Dan Zapkei / Gunye ge mask
Tribal art > African mask > Dan mask

Among the most iconic African masks, this sculpture stood out among the eleven types of Dan masks (Fisher and Himmelheber) because of its circularly hollowed out eyes to allow for better vision. These masks named gunye ge "racing masks," with an oval face and slightly concave center, were produced among the northern Dan and intended for participation in racing events. As for the zapkei, they intervene to prevent the spread of domestic fires during the dry seasons. Armed with a stick, they threaten unwary women and confiscate an object as a fine. Some of these masks ,the go ge , provided with a particularly sophisticated braided headdress, were only exceptionally used .
Mask on base : 43 cm
Black patina with a satin touch, granular residual inlays at the top.

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Dogon zoomorphic mask
Tribal art > African mask > Dogon mask

Thick, lumpy patina of use for this African animal mask offering outwardly erect ears, a protruding forehead, a blunt nose and a large, toothy grin. Seams resulting from ritual libations. Slight residual pigments, red ochre, additionally appear at the ears under the crusty coating.
Desiccation cracks and abrasions.
The Dogon people are renowned in African tribal art for the myths and beliefs relating to their cosmogony.
The 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).They produce more than 80 types of masks, the best known of which are the Kanaga , Sirigé , Satimbé , Walu . Most of them are used by ...

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Fragment of a Luba Lupona stool
Tribal art > African Chair > Luba stool

Sacrality of the sculpted seats, prestige regalia, in primitive African art .
A female figure supporting the circular plate of a seat, forms the "receptacle of a deceased sovereign chief" (Luba, Roberts). This stool named lupona , or kioni, kipona , kiona , according to the sources, constitutes the meeting point of the sovereign, his people, and protective spirits and ancestors, where past and present are symbolically and spiritually mingled. It was once the seat on which the king was enthroned. The seats were arranged on leopard skins when the new leader was inaugurated. It was only after being seated there that his address assumed a royal and divine character. Apart from these exceptional circumstances, the seats were not used and remained stored in secret places. ...

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Protective figure Rungu Kakudji
Tribal art > African Statues > Rungu figure

Streaked with vertical marks, the face of this human figurine has half-closed eyes stretched towards the temples, like some of the traditional masks of the group. The posture is rectilinear, the bust however hardly inclined forward, and the tips of the fingers rest on the pelvis. A hole on the top of the head has been filled in, suggesting that a horn must have been inserted. Lustrous patina, golden brown. Tribe of the Tabwa group, the Rungu are established in a region between the D.R.C. (Democratic Republic of Congo), Zambia and Tanzania. Under the influence of the neighboring Lubas and Bemba, the Rungu produced prestigious objects for dignitaries, stools, combs, spoons and scepters, frequently decorated with figures of couples or twins evoking the primordial ancestors. Their ...

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Lega Bwami mask
Tribal art > African mask > Lega mask

br>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 the oldest man in the clan, who must be the highest ranking. As in other forest tribes, the men hunt and clear land while the women cultivate cassava. Social recognition and authority had to be earned individually: the chief owed his selection to his heart (mutima), good character, intelligence, and impeccable behavior. During ritual ceremonies, ...

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Dogon Tellem altar figure
Tribal art > African Statues > Dogon figure

The tribal African statues of the Dogon can be the object of worship on behalf of the whole community when they commemorate, for example, the foundation of the village. These statues, sometimes embodying the nyama of the deceased, are placed on ancestor altars and participate in various rituals including those of the periods of seeds and harvests. This is a statuette of personal worship, with a dense, oily and slightly abraded patina, under which appears a light wood.
The figures with raised arms would symbolize a prayer to Amma to grant the rain necessary for all life. According to the sources, it would also be a gesture of contrition following the violation of a law that resulted in a drought. Sacrificial patina. The south of the plateau overlooking the Bandiagara ...

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Kasongo Nkisi fetish figure
Tribal art > African fetish > Kasongo fetish

The therapeutic figures of the Kasongos, used by healers, were inspired by Songye fetishes. The magical charge, composed of ingredients of various origins, was inserted into the head cavity. The very dense wood is inlaid with metal like the Songye fetishes. The head of this stocky character, established in a quasi-crouched posture, is a Kasongo specificity. Matt patina. Abrasions, erosions and cracks.
The Kusu established on the left bank of the Lualaba have borrowed the artistic traditions of the Luba and the Hemba and possess a caste system similar to that of the Luba . The Kasongos form a Kusu subgroup, now scattered among the Luba, Songye, and Hemba. The singiti statues were kept by the fumu mwalo and honored in ceremonies during which sacrifices were ...

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Luvale / Mbunda mask
Tribal art > African mask > Luvale mask

The masks of the Chokwe, Luda, Luvale/Lwena, Luchazi and Mbunda clans are called "makishi" (sing. likishi) in Zambia. This name comes from "kishi", a Bantu concept that evokes the manifestation of a spirit or ancestor. These agents of social, moral and spiritual order, forming a panel of different characteristics, sociable, aggressive, or unpredictable, embody the spirit of an illustrious ancestor (male or female), their appearance is mainly manifested during the rites of mukanda, including circumcision, during which their true identity must remain hidden from the eyes of the layman. Their accessories and behavior, depending on the case, symbolize moral values, emphasize fertility, or parody strangers.
Of Lunda origin, the Lwena emigrated from Angola to Zaire in the 19th ...

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Ogoni Chosen Mask, Ekpo, with articulated jaw
Tribal art > African mask > Ogoni mask

Attached with a wicker clamp, the lower jaw of this mask embodying an ancestor or a high-ranking character, can be articulated, revealing wooden sticks representing a dentition.
Two-tone satin patina. Abrasions.

The Ogoni live along the coast of Nigeria, near the mouth of the Cross-River, south of the Igbo and west of the Ibibio. Their carvings vary from village to village, but are primarily renowned for their jointed jaw masks such as some Ekpo Ibibio masks. Their masks were usually worn at funerals, festivities accompanying planting and harvesting, but also more recently to welcome distinguished guests. Acrobatic demonstrations linked to the karikpo celebration, and accompanied by the kere karikpo drum, were additionally an opportunity to display various ...

Sickle Knife Banda
Tribal art > African Currencies > Banda Sickle

In African tribal art, throwing weapons and parade weapons were primitive currencies dedicated to commercial and social exchanges.
These objects in similar forms are found among the Gobu, the Mbugu, the Banda. According to the ethnic group the names vary: Bo, Nguindza or Guindza gbo as among the Banda.

Their shape places them in the category of "parade axes". Some more compact shapes also served as throwing knives.

The older ones will be made from a fairly light forged metal with a bare handle. The shapes and size vary from place to place.

This specimen has a handle entirely sheathed in copper wire, and the blade has discreet incisions and decorative hatching associated with human scarifications. The patina is grainy and velvety.

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Portrait mask Ndoma Baule
Tribal art > African mask > Baoule mask

Former Baoulé figurative mask called portrait mask or Ndoma , with an atypical character, and whose unique scarifications form "cat whiskers" at the corners of the lips.
Beautiful satin patina of use.
Small accidents.
These African masks portraits of the Baoulé, ndoma , which are part of one of the oldest Baoulé artistic traditions and frequently represent an idealized character, have the particularity of manifesting themselves in the end of the entertainment dance ceremonies, which are named, depending on the region, bedwo , ngblo , mblo , adjussu < / i>, etc .... Each of these masks are distinguished by the hairstyles, the location and the choice of scarifications. They perform during dance events accompanied by music and songs, celebrations, ...

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Fang ancestor figure of Byeri reliquary
Tribal art > African Statues > Fang statue

This anthropomorphic sculpture representing a richly adorned young woman is distinguished by the quality of its modeling, its patina evoking a dark skin on which the copper ornaments form a brilliant contrast. Among the characteristics of the Ntumu style from the regions between Gabon, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea is the pouting of the prognathic jaw. The bust is pierced with a cavity in order to introduce magical elements or relics of the deceased. Bright patina, abrasions. Local restoration with brass staples. Cracks of desiccation. Among the Fang of Cameroon and in Gabon, each family has a "Byeri", or reliquary box, in which the bones of ancestors are kept. These boxes were guarded by the oldest man in the village, the "esa". The reliquary boxes were surmounted by a statue or a ...

Ashanti female figure
Tribal art > African Statues > Ashanti statue

This African statuette, seated on a stool, has a ringed neck, a headdress with parallel shells, and a straight back, hands on the knees. It is probably a queen or ancestor figure.
Lustrous two-tone patina. Cracks and abrasions. The Ashanti are one of the ethnic groups belonging to the Akan group, established on the former Gold Coast, Ghana since 1957. Producers of commemorative terracotta linked to funeral rites, the Akan have also mastered metal casting. This people consider the woman as the final arbiter of all decisions. Fertility and children are therefore the most common themes represented in Ashanti wood carvings. Maternity figures called esi mansa adorn royal or family altars. They frequently represent a woman nursing her child.

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Fang Ngil Large helmet mask
Tribal art > African mask > Fang mask

This African Fang mask illustrates one of the variants of the Fang masks of the Ngil, that is to say, a stretched face in which the assertive features give an austere physiognomy. The nose is long, drawing the eye to a wide mouth with pursed lips. Surface coated with kaolin. The scars are raised with red ochre.
The appearance of these masks, generally coated with kaolin (the white color evokes the power of the ancestors), in the middle of the night, could cause fear. This type of mask was used by the Ngil male society which no longer exists today. This secret society was in charge of initiations and fought against witchcraft. The ngil was a rite of purifying fire symbolized by the gorilla. The bearers of these masks, always in large numbers, appeared at night, lit by ...

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Luba Kifwebe mask
Tribal art > African mask > Luba mask

Emblematic of the sculpture of the Lubas of the east along the Luvua River (D.R.C.), this type of African mask of semi-globular structure presents similarities with the masks of the Songye. However, they did not have the same function. These African masks are called "bifwebe". They appeared during funerals and investitures. The surface is decorated with streaks coated with white clay. Two-tone patina.
These masks appeared during the ritual ceremonies of the kazanzi society, responsible for fighting witchcraft. "Bifwebe" (Sing.: kifwebe) would moreover mean, according to C. Faïk-Nzuji, "to chase death". Worn with a voluminous ruff of raffia and animal skins that concealed the dancer, these masks were generally danced in the company of a zoomorphic mask. For the Luba, white ...

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