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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

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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

Montol statue
Tribal art > African Statues > Montol statue

The design of this sculpture here suggests a dynamic, thanks to the lateral inclination of a powerful bust. The arms, extended by large hands, seem to draw the body forward as well. The expressive face, stretched under the cylindrical and flat headdress, offers discreet parallel marks. Clog feet support high legs in flexion.
Irregular crusty patina. Erosions concentrated at the top and on the internal area of ​​one foot. The Goemai, Tarok (who call their healing society Kwompten), and the Ngas of central Nigeria make use of similar, often more schematic statues.
It was during healing rites, or even divination of the origins of illnesses, that this sculpture played a major role for members of male Komtin society. The Montol, on the right bank of the Benué, preserved the ...

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Fang mask
Tribal art > African mask > Fang mask

Intended to unmask sorcerers, this type of African mask was carved on the eve of ceremonies. It translates the will to intimidate the occult powers. Accompanied by words, gestures, dances and sacrifices, this type of African mask also intervened during initiations out of sight of the profane. Velvety patina. Desication cracks.
The wearers of these masks, always in large numbers, appeared at night, lit by torches. Their intervention was also linked to the judicial function by designating the culprits of bad deeds within the village. This type of mask was used by the male ngil society, a rite of purifying fire symbolized by the gorilla, which no longer exists today. This secret society was in charge of initiations and fought against witchcraft. Guarantor of peace, the Ngil also ...

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Bobo mask
Tribal art > African mask > Bobo mask

African mask flanked by a transverse crest, all adorned with triangular motifs symbolizing magic amulets.
These masks are repainted with each new dance season. Common characteristics are to be noted with certain helmet-masks of the Markha, another Mandinka ethnic group.
These heavy masks, whose design usually revolves around a helmet with a crest or horned growths, occurred during agricultural rituals in order to restore the balance of the earth. Their significance was revealed during the initiation of young boys.
A Mandingo people, most of whom live in eastern Burkina Faso, but also in southern Mali, the culture of the Bobo Fing is similar to that of the Bambara. In each village altars are erected under the authority of the blacksmiths, priests of the cult of Dwo, ...

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Igbo statue
Tribal art > African Statues > Igbo statue

br>Intended to be placed in the obu (Sing.: obi), houses of the men of the Cross River, these statues figured in a classical posture formed the tops of pillars . The bodies bear body patterns named "uli". Regional body markings, tattoos and scarifications indicated the rank reached in the initiation society. The thick kaolin patina is partially abraded. The Igbo culture has its origins in the mythology of the Nri Kingdom of Nigeria, according to which the gods brought believers palm oil, cassava, and medicines made from yams.
The Igbo live in the forest in southeastern Nigeria. They managed to combine a deep sense of individuality with an equally strong sense of belonging to the group. Their political system is complex and little known. The village is the largest social unit, the ...

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Sakalava statue
Tribal art > African Statues > Sakalava statue

Ex-collection African tribal art Belgian
The most famous plastic achievements of the Malagasy consist of a statuary linked to funerary rites. If the statues of the Mahafaly were an integral part of the aloalo pillars, as the fragments of panels above the heads bear witness to, the figures of Sakalava ancestors, in the round, frequently represent the deceased and his companion of the opposite sex. The north-east of the tomb, a sacred position associated with the dawn, the resurrection, the ideal moment for circumcision as well, was considered by the Malagasy as the favorable place for the installation of the statue of the deceased. To the southwest of the tomb, on the other hand, was installed the image of his partner of the opposite sex, symbolizing an ideal union. This male ...

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Igbo statue
Tribal art > African Statues > Igbo statue

Type of sculpture called "ugonachonma" depicting nubile young girls, intended to be staged in village squares during dry season entertainment ceremonies. These figures are specific to the village age groups of the north central Igbo region, around Onitsha and Awka. The woman has specific criteria of Igbo beauty, including uli tattoos. Locally flaking crusty patina, desiccation cracks.
br>The Igbo revere a considerable number of deities known as alusi, or agbara, considered to be the descendants of Chuku, or Chukwu, and as such constitute intermediaries to whom sacrifices such as kola nuts, money, kaolin, are granted in order to enjoy their favors. These sculptures produced in several regions range from about forty centimeters to human size, and are adorned with more or less ...

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Nyamezi statue
Tribal art > African Statues > Nyamezi statue

High spread legs support this sculpted figure whose stocky bust, on which a tiny chest points, seems to lean forward. The drooping shoulders are rounded towards arms without wrists extending from flat hands. The head is underlined by a crest, ample ears enhance a neutral and discreet physiognomy.
Beautiful glossy patina. Irregular surface, lacks.
In the southern coastal region of Tanzania, around Dar-es-Salaam, a relatively homogeneous group produced most of the artistic productions. It includes the Swahili, Kaguru, Doé, Kwéré, Luguru, Zaramo, Kami. The second region is made up of a territory covering southern Tanzania to Mozambique, where some Makonde and the Yao, the Ngindo, Mwéra, and Makua live. In the North-East of Tanzania, the Chaga, Paré, Chamba, Zigua, Massaï, ...

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Kasongo figure
Tribal art > African fetish > Kasongo figure

The personal protection figures kakudjis, used by the Hemba, the Kusu and the Kasongos, were inspired by Songye fetishes. The latter, free of magic charge, is carved in a rudimentary way, its slight asymmetry giving it a particular charm.
Glossy golden patina. Gaps and cracks.
The Kusu established on the left bank of the Lualaba have borrowed the artistic traditions of the Luba and the Hemba and have a caste system similar to that Luba . The Kasongos form a Kusu sub-group, now scattered among the Luba, Songye and Hemba. The singiti statues were kept by the fumu mwalo and honored during ceremonies during which sacrifices were offered to them. Alongside the authority of the hereditary chiefs, secret societies, masculine such as the bukazanzi, and feminine, the bukibilo, ...

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Malinke Seats
Tribal art > African Chair > Malinke Seats

These models of prestigious seats, robust, very elaborate, and decorated with refinement, were intended for chefs. This type of high chairs collected in Guinea were indeed reserved for sofas, warrior dignitaries who fought alongside Samory Touré. The Malinke have spread from Senegal to Guinea Bissau, northern Sierra Leone, Liberia and northwestern Côte d'Ivoire. Under their influence, the Toma or Loma of Guinea carved similar seats. It is rare to be able to present them in pairs. Decorative motifs, chiseled in sheets of copper and tin, adorn the elements of the seats. Everything is in excellent condition, except for one of the carved figurines referring to the ancestors, missing on the front of one of them. Few desication cracks. Ref. : "Seats of Black Africa" ed.5Continents (p.82 and ...

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Dogon Stool
Tribal art > African Chair > Dogon Stool

Reduced version for this old Dogon stool supported by four geometric figures embodying the mythical ancestor Nommo. The contours of the flat, oval seat are engraved with symbolic linear motifs. Large metal staples were used to consolidate the structure. Velvety matte patina, abrasions. 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 south-west of the Niger loop in the Mopti region of Mali (Bandiagara, Koro, Banka), near Douentza and part of northern Burkina (north-west of Ouahigouya ). The villages are often perched on top of the scree on the side of the hills, according to a unique architecture. The history of Dogon migrations and settlements (about ten ...

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Vili statue
Tribal art > African fetish > Vili statue

The tribal fetishes of the Kongo kingdom have a magic charge generally lodged on the abdomen in a sealed cavity. The gaze encrusted with dark pupils is associated with extra lucid abilities. erosions.
The nganga , sorcerers but also healers, were in charge of religious activities and mediation with the God called Nzambi through this type of figure, most often consecrated anthropomorphic tribal sculptures, named nkisi.
Among the Kongo, the nganga was responsible for rituals by activating a spiritual force with a nkondi (pl. nkissi). The term nkisi was then used to designate the notions of "sacred" or "divine". The most influential category of "minkisi kongo" consisted of instruments to help regional chiefs enforce the law. A metal object was nailed to a wooden figure as ...

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Mumuye mask
Tribal art > African mask > Mumuye mask

Flanked by a head topped with a crest and having ample ears, this so-called shoulder mask is designed in an arch. A mirror is embedded on one of the walls. Glossy dark patina under a clay coating. Cracks and abrasions.
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 form a group called Mumuye and are grouped into villages, dola, divided into two groups: those of fire (tjokwa) relating to blood and the color red, guardians of the cult vabong, among which are elected the chiefs, and those of ...

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Yoruba pole
Tribal art > Posts, Dogon, Lobi, Sogho, Oron, Toguna > Yoruba pole

Veranda pillar composed of carved figures: a mother figure embodying 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 theYoruba Egba and Ijebu. She could also symbolize Orunmila, goddess of divination. She is revered by members of the powerful Ogboni, or Osugbo, Justice Society. The lower figure evokes Esu, or Eshu.
Polychrome patina, erosions.
The kingdoms of Oyo and Ijebu arose following the disappearance of the Ifé civilization and are still the basis of the political structure of the Yoruba . The Oyo created two cults centered on the Egungun and Sango societies, still active, who venerate their gods, the Orisa, through ceremonies appeal to masks, ...

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Gouro mask
Tribal art > African mask > Gouro mask

African Gouro mask from central Ivory Coast.
Between hemmed ears, feminine features, whose smile reveals the upper row of teeth, are painted in bright colors. An elegant flat-shaped accessory, adorned with carved patterns in relief, embellishes the braided hairstyle. Thanks to skillful modeling, the realism of the expression is striking. Small erosions and accidents.

Among the group of Mande from the south, in the center of Côte d'Ivoire, on the banks of the Bandama, the Gouro are organized into lineages, and constitute the western neighbors of the Baoulé who borrowed several characteristics from their creations. Animists, since the 1950s, they have used a family of masks associated with the Zaouli dance. Like the African Goli masks of the Baoulé, the set of Guro ...

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Koro cup
Tribal art > African Statues > Koro cup

Sculpture depicting an ancestor with an expressive face. The hollowed out abdomen was intended to contain beverages during ritual ceremonies. Surface coated with a thick satin patina, filmy, partially flaking. Internal clear (palm oil?) residues.

According to some authors, two people were drinking there at the same time.( Arts of Nigeria, A. Lebas)
It is in the northern part of the interior of Nigeria that the Koro settled, alongside the Waja, Mama, Hausa, and Dakakari. Best known for their masks adorned with red abrus seeds embodying the ancestors, they also use this type of ritual offering cups at funerals, during sacrifices and masked ceremonies.

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Punu mask
Tribal art > African mask > Punu mask

An emaciated face, with arched, globular eyelids, and a mouth revealing the teeth, distinguish this punu mask depicting an elderly person. A surprising headdress, radiating around the forehead, develops into quarters. The traditional scarifications are cut in strong projection. (missing on one end of one of the shells) Velvety matte patina.

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 in several levels of initiation, to which all Punu men belonged, and whose emblem was the caiman (hence, for some, the saurian scale motif). These powerful secret societies, which also had a judicial function, featured several dances, including the leopard ...

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Gurunsi mask
Tribal art > African mask > Gurunsi mask

Among the Gurunsi, the Lela, Winiama, Nuna and Nunuma are the main mask carvers. They influenced the style and meaning of the masks of their neighbors Mossi and Bwa. Several animals can be represented: buffalo, antelope, warthog, hyena, hornbill, snake and crocodile and their combined attributes. The plate is extended by a stylized bird mask with a rectangular bifid beak. Geometric patterns have a symbolic significance.
Crusty matte patina, locally abraded. Desication cracks.
These masks, spirits of the bush, were worn by the members of the village, fully concealed under plant fiber outfits, during ritual dances. The ritual was to bring fertility and prosperity to the village, provided it was performed correctly. They also still occur during funeral ceremonies of notables, ...

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Yoruba statue
Tribal art > African Statues > Yoruba statue

Figure "Esu, Eshu", or "Ogo Elegba", divine messenger of the Yoruba pantheon, intermediary between humans and the God Olodumare, supposed to grant benefits and punishments, and guaranteeing the balance of creation through offerings, sacrifices and libations administered to him. He is Legba in Fon voodoo. The characteristic hairstyle symbolizes fertility and energy. These carved figures reflect the iconography of tribal art Yoruba. Locally chipped burgundy/green patina. Erosions, damaged base.
The Yoruba, more than 20 million, occupy southwestern Nigeria and the central and southeastern region of Benin under the name of Nago. The kingdoms of Oyo and Ijebu arose following the disappearance of the Ifé civilization and are still the basis of the political structure of the Yoruba . ...

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