Tribal art expertise at your service
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
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.
Tribal art > African Statues > Senoufo Statue
Wearing a crest in the shape of a bird, this majestically arched female figure rests with thick forearms on a small pelvis. Slender arms release the tension of the bust on which a firm chest points. The base - pestle, "sedine" or "dol" depending on the dialect, extends the legs. Medium brown satin patina, minor abrasions and drying cracks.
The Senoufos, so named by the French settlers, are mainly made up of farmers who have dispersed between Mali, Ivory Coast, and Burkina Faso. Councils of elders, headed by an elected chief, administer the Senufo villages. Each of them has its own Poro association introducing young boys from the age of 7 in a succession of three cycles lasting seven years.
The Debele Senoufo, or "child of the Poro", "spirit of the bush", intervened in pairs at the ...
Tribal art > African Rider > Dogon Statue
The clearly contrasting proportions of this Dogon sculpture are striking here, highlighting the supernatural nature of the subject.
Old restoration of an arm. Matte patina speckled golden brown.
Minor desiccation cracks.
In Dogon mythology, one of the Nommos, ancestors of men resurrected by the creator god Amma, descended to earth carried by an ark transformed into a horse. In addition, the highest authority of the Dogon people, the religious leader named Hogon, paraded on his mount during his enthronement because according to custom he should not set foot on the ground. In the region of the Sangha cliffs, inaccessible on horseback, the priests wore it, while neighing in reference to the mythical ancestor Nommo. The rider and his horse are a theme frequently treated among ...
Tribal art > African mask > Chokwe Mask
Emblem of feminine beauty, always worn by initiates of higher rank, this ancient African mask embodying an ancestor is embellished with a curly hairstyle representing that, modeled in clay, of Tschokwe women. The features offer great expressiveness, curls originally adorned the ears.
Deep nuanced, satin patina. Abrasions, losses.
Height on base: 46 cm.
The African Chokwe pwo masks, among the numerous akishi masks (sing: mukishi, indicating power) of African Chokwe art, embody an ideal of beauty, Mwana Pwo, or the Pwo woman and appear today during festive ceremonies.
The pwo are believed to bring fertility and prosperity to the community. The characteristic patterns present on the forehead, and sometimes on the cheekbones, are part of the Chokwe aesthetic canons but also served ...
Tribal art > African Statues > Dogon statue
This Dogon statue, narrow, with stretched limbs, represents a kneeling woman. Repeated ritual libations have given the surface a grainy appearance. The desiccated, cracked wood bears the marks of time.
Carved for the most part on commission by a family and in this case arranged on the family altar Tiré Kabou, the Dogon tribal statues can also be the object of worship by the entire community when they commemorate, for example, the founding 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 seed and harvest periods. Their functions, however, remain little known. In parallel with Islam, Dogon religious rites are organized around four main cults: the Lebe , relating to ...
Tribal art > African Statues > Lobi figure
Lobi sculptures and African art.
Naturalist carved figurine with a protective purpose, polished by use.
These statuettes were placed on the altar after a ritual to be the receptacle of a bush spirit, the Thil, and thus become an active being, an intermediary fighting against wizards and all other harmful forces.
When honored, these spirits would manifest their benevolence in the form of abundant rains, good health, and numerous births; ignored, they would withdraw it and bring devastating epidemics, drought, and suffering.
They are supposed to transmit to the diviners the laws that the followers must follow in order to enjoy their protection.
They are represented by wooden or copper sculptures called Bateba (large or small, figurative or abstract, they adopt ...
Tribal art > African Jar > Kuba cup
Like their Kuba neighbors, the Lele have a wide variety of ceremonial sculptures, such as this cup used during divination rites, pacts, ritual ceremonies. This copy stands out thanks to its original design, giving it great elegance.
Beautiful glossy dark patina. Desication cracks.
The Kuba are renowned for the refinement of prestige items created for members of the high ranks of their society. Several Kuba groups indeed produced anthropomorphic objects with refined motifs including cups, drinking horns and goblets.
The Lele are established in the west of the Kuba kingdom, at the confluence of the Kasai and Bashilele rivers.
The intercultural exchanges between the Bushoong of the Kuba territory and the Lele have made the attribution of certain objects difficult, because ...
Tribal art > African mask > Fang Mask
A mutation of the Fang Ngil mask, the African masks Bikereu caricatured European settlers and appeared after the colonizing government banned the Ngil mask of justice, but have an analogous function. The eyebrows form a prominent arch which extends into the bridge of the nose, under which a mustache-shaped shape surmounts a toothed grin.
Abraded matte patina, old restoration, cracks and erosions.
Height on base: 75 cm.
Among the Fang, the male brotherhood of Ngil had the main task of fighting against sorcerers and evildoers. These masks were also worn for the initiation of its new members. Their white color, a reference to the deceased, means that the mask embodied an ancestral spirit. The mask has forbidding features, meant to surprise, accompanied by numerous ...
Tribal art > African Statues > Baoule Statuette
Sometimes called a "settler", this African statuette forms the incarnation of a spiritual husband, sculpted according to the indications of the diviner. In "African art, Western eyes" Susan Vogel reports that a figure of this type (p.255), idealized spouse, is represented dressed in a city outfit because the spouse is supposed to have a job in city. The earthly spouse, through the cult rendered to this spiritual double, expects to have his resources, his favors and his protection unfailingly.
About sixty ethnic groups populate Côte d'Ivoire, including the Baoulé, in the center, Akans from Ghana, people of the savannah, practicing hunting and agriculture just like the Gouro from whom they borrowed the cults and masks.
Irregular polychrome patina, abrasions. Desication cracks ...
Tribal art > African mask > Mumuye Mask
The Mumuye in African tribal art.
Mask depicting a stylized "bust", it has a front surface bristling with a series of growths. Nail inlays form geometric patterns. Shiny patina encrusted with matt clear pigments. Erosions and cracks.
Occurring occasionally in pairs, this mask could be accompanied by a horizontal mask during rituals preceding the wars. Its appearance is nowadays linked to apotropaic ceremonies and the call for rain.
South of the Benoué River, in a region of difficult access which isolated them until 1950, are the Mumuye, who are organized into family groups called dola.
This type of mask is found in the northwestern region of the middle Benoué, from the Kona Jukun, to the Mumuye and up to the Wurkun populations. The 100,000 Adamawa language speakers ...
Tribal art > African Jar > Pende Mortar
Small mortar for spices, pigments, or therapeutic ingredients. The object is carved with different faces that take up the features of the traditional masks of the group.
Golden brown satin patina. Slight residue of kaolin.
The Western Pende live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the Eastern have settled on the banks of the Kasai downstream from Tshikapa. The influences of the neighboring ethnic groups, Mbla, Suku, Wongo, Leele, Kuba, and Salempasu have been imprinted on their extensive tribal art sculpture. Within this diversity the Mbuya masks, realistic ,produced every ten years, have a festive function, and embody different characters, including the chief, the diviner and his wife, the prostitute, the possessed, etc.... The masks of initiation and those of power, the ...
Tribal art > African mask > Toma mask
Ancient African mask bakrogui, Simogui, or Angbaï, of the Toma of Guinea, relating to the ancestors. This mask intended to impress is equipped with a thick skin hood, lined with various elements, mirrors, cowries. It is extended by a heavy cape made of embroidered textile and velvet with colored patterns, edged with red fabric. Metal bells adorn the contours of the mask. Only members of the Poro were allowed to contemplate the bakrogui mask.
The Toma of Guinea, called Loma in Liberia, live within the forest, at high altitude. They are renowned for their landai board masks intended to enliven the initiation rites of the poro association that structures their society, and which represent spirits of the bush. As soon as the landai mask appeared, the initiates would go to the ...
Tribal art > African Statues > Baoule Statuette
This African statuette generally called "colon" , forms, for the Baoulé, an idealized, individual image of the celestial spouse. Its features were carved on the indications of the diviner for his client in an attempt to remedy various problems.
Abraded polychrome patina. Desication crack.
Two types of statues are produced by the baoulé in the ritual context:
TheWaka-Sona statues, "being of wood" in Baoulé, evoke a assié oussou, being of the earth. They are one of a type of statues intended to be used as medium tools by Komien soothsayers, the latter being selected by the asye usu spirits in order to communicate revelations from beyond. The second type of statues, made according to the indications of the diviner, are the spouses of the beyond, masculine, the ...
Tribal art > African Statues > Kwéré Calabash
Equipped with an anthropomorphic cap reproducing the shape of traditional dolls, the container is fitted with a carrying strap.
The Zaramo and the tribes that surround them, such as the Kwéré, designed dolls generally associated with fertility, but to which other virtues would be attributed. Its primary role is played during the period of confinement of the young initiate Zaramo. The novice will behave towards the object as with a child, and will dance with it during the closing ceremonies of the initiation. In case the young woman does not conceive, she will adopt the "child". Among the Zaramo and the Kwéré, this sculpted motif is taken up on the top of canes, decorates ritual objects and even appears on burial posts.
Tribal art > African Statues > Kongo Dog
This is a desecrated two-headed dog sculpture, the center of which carried a "bishimba" magic charge. The Kongo use this type of nkisi object to try to resolve a difficulty and to intimidate or repel the person who is causing it.
Among the Kongo, the dog, renowned for its knowledge of the supernatural world, its flair and its vision, had the role of mediator between the living and the dead.
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 a statuary endowed with a codified gesture in relation to their vision of the world.
Desication cracks, brown ...
Tribal art > African Maternity > Dogon Statue
Established in a posture highlighting the twins perched on each of her knees, this altar figure is wearing braids and a top bun. Its lower limbs seem to merge with the feet of the circular seat. Dense crusty patina. Desication cracks.
Carved for the most part on order placed by a family, the Dogon statues can also be the object of worship on the part of the whole community. 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 by the priest of the Binou, and the society of masks concerning the funeral.
Tribal art > African mask > Fang Mask
With arcades cut at an angle, overhanging a face with a neutral physiognomy, this type ofAfrican mask intended to unmask sorcerers was carved on the eve of ceremonies. Accompanied by words, gestures, dances and sacrifices, it also intervened during initiations out of sight of the profane. Matte crusty patina. Abrasions, desication cracks, lacks.
Height on base: 54 cm.
Among the Fang, established in a region extending from Yaoundé in Cameroon to Ogooué in Gabon, 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 dread. This type of mask was used by the ngil religious and judicial male society which no longer exists today. This secret society was in charge of initiations and ...
Tribal art > African mask > Bodi Mask
Mask in the form of a basketwork structure draped in textile, imprisoning a bouquet of feathers at the top, the whole abundantly lined with raffia fibers. The whole thing formed a strange hat for the dancer whose mask consisted of facial paintings.
Established in the Ogooué basin, the Okandé group of Membé language, neighbor of the Punu, Pounou, is composed of the Tsogho, Pové (Vuvi), Okandé, Evea, and Apindji ethnic groups. These ethnic groups practice the cult of Mwiri, a male initiation society.
Source: "Masks of Gabon", ed. Wakes; http://www.theatramour.com/masque_bodi.php.