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 > Yoruba Fetish
Ibeji, substitute images in African art
This effigy reflects African Yoruba sculpture. Anointing residues remain locally crystallized.
Shiny mahogany patina, indigo highlights.
In the language of the Yoruba people, ibeji means twin: ibi for born and eji for two< /i>. They represent the figure of a deceased twin.
This ibedji is then treated as the missing child would have been. It is the mother who must take care of him; she can wash and feed him regularly. If she dies, the remaining twin takes over.
It also happened that a man had ibeji carved for his wife in order to encourage pregnancy, the object becoming a support for fertility.
Support for the soul of the twin, the ibeji influences the life of the family, becoming a source of benefits for his parents, the latter ...
Tribal art > African mask > Mende Mask
In African art among the Mende, sowei masks embody aquatic spirits. This ancient African mask called bundu offers a braided hairstyle forming a unique assembly. The face sinks into rings of flesh, a feminine ideal linked to prosperity.
Painted black or tinted with a leaf wash, the mask was then rubbed with palm oil.
Soft, satiny patina, erosions and desication cracks.br>
The Mende, Vai and Gola cultures of Sierra Leone, Liberia and the west coast of Guinea are known for the helmet masks of the female initiation society Sandé which prepares young girls for the marriage . The male society is the Poro society.
Relatively rare in sub-Saharan Africa, these masks are made by men and worn by women.
To close the rituals, a "spirit" appears, wearing this mask lined with long fibers of ...
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 mask > Kwele Mask
This kwele mask, analyzed with carbon 14 by the "KIKIRPA" (Royal Institute of Artistic Heritage) whose results were confirmed by the Ciram laboratory on the initiative of Mr. Pierre Dartevelle, was acquired by a renowned French collector (the identity will be communicated to the purchaser).
With a beautiful symmetry, this two-tone mask presents the traditional criteria of kwele masks, whose heart-shaped, concave orbits extend widely over the face, above a fine ridged mouth.
Height on base: 39 cm.
Tribe of the Kota group, the Kwélé , Bakwélé , live in the forest on the northern border of the Republic of Congo. They live from hunting, agriculture and metallurgy. Practicing the cult called Bwété borrowed from the Ngwyes, which was accompanied by obligatory initiation rites, ...
Tribal art > African Statues > Dogon Statue
French African Tribal Art Collection.
Anthropo-zoomorphic figure representing a slender subject, endowed with feminine attributes, established in an unconventional posture and whose narrow face extended by a pointed jaw would recall certain Dogon animal masks associated with monkeys or even crocodiles (dia).
Dark, lumpy, irregular patina.
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.
More than eighty types of Dogon masks have been listed, the majority used by circumcised initiates of the Awa society, during funeral ceremonies. The Ko mask of the Dogon is one of three types of monkey masks: Dege represents a baboon ...
Tribal art > African Statues > Bamoun Statuette
Refinement of Cameroonian Grassland sculptures.
This statuette of an ancestor carved in wood, characterizing the African tribal art of the Grassland regions, was covered with a canvas of rabane then encrusted with imported multicolored beads. The subject presents a cup with a lid.
Among the Bamiléké as in other ethnic groups, works of art bear witness to the place of their owner in society. Thus, the materials and shapes of objects varied according to social status.
Located in the border region of Nigeria, the North West province of Cameroon, the Grassland is made up of several ethnic groups: Tikar, Anyang, Widekum, Chamba, Bamoun and Bamileke . Several centralized chiefdoms, or kingdoms, based on customary associations, secret societies, are organized around the Fon who would have ...
Tribal art > African bronze > Nigeria bronze
Extract from a Belgian African tribal art collection of 17 pieces representing different animals.
This object comes from northeastern Nigeria near Lake Chad, around Maiduguri, in the state of Borno, which is currently relatively inaccessible because it is controlled by armed Islamist groups. The dominant language is Kanuri.
It is a rare piece, associated with protective spirits, which was buried in the ground in order to preserve crops from animals or thieves. The Damosaka families, a very little known minority ethnic group in the region, had this type of ritual object. We have no information about them.
The sculpture forms a detailed figurative representation of a frog offering realistic proportions. A solid, spongy-looking growth remains on the subject's back. A ...
Tribal art > African mask > Lega Mask
This ancient African mask Lega indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, a learning society open to men and women and composed of different grades. Abraded matte patina, encrusted residues of kaolin. Cracks, marks of use.
Height on base: 47 cm.
Within the Lega, the Bwami society 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. 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, Idumu masks were presented to initiates ...
Tribal art > African mask > Suruku Mask
It is through various secret societies that the Bambara initiates will acquire their knowledge, including that of Koré, targeting the elders and during which this mask intervenes. Kore society is divided into eight classes of initiates, the sixth of which is that of the hyenas, or surukuw.
The bulbous forehead of the mask is surmounted a horn which would symbolize the tuft of hair removed after the death of the animal. The prominent forehead refers to intelligence.
Abrasions from use and cracks.
Established in central and southern Mali, in a savannah zone, the Bambara, "Bamana" or "unbelievers", as the Muslims have named them, belong to the large Mande group, with the Soninke and the Malinke.
The Bambara nyamakala artisan groups, more specifically the ...
Tribal art > African mask > Yoruba mask
The Ekiti of the northeastern part of the Yoruba region use African masks polychrome heaumes associated with the Epa cult, illustrating the prosperity of the community.
They appear at funerals or rites of passage.
The base of the janiform mask, named ikoko, is topped by a tray on which a female figure kneels surrounded by miniature subjects. The release of these masks, which will have been painted by their owners, takes place every two years. Despite the weight of the masks, the dancers perform spectacular acrobatic demonstrations. These ceremonies are also supposed to increase fertility.
Grainy polychrome patina, abrasions and desiccation cracks.
The Yoruba, more than 20 million, occupy southwestern Nigeria and the central and southeastern region of Benin ...
Tribal art > African Maternity > Tikar maternity
Ex private French collection of African art. Typical representation of a maternity according to the canons of art Tikar. Sitting on a royal stool, she holds two children on her lap. High-lined, she is richly adorned with jewels, necklace and bracelets around her neck and wrists. The headdress is very elaborate and many ritual scarifications cover her belly. The seat of the stool is highly worked and based on a five-person caryatid base. The tribes that live in the Grasslands, in northwestern Cameroon, are part of the Tikar peoples, divided into several independent kingdoms in the Bafut kingdom. The structure of the kingdom consists of a large chiefdom subdivided into quarters: residences of queens, children and notables. The notables constitute the hierarchy of the chieftaincy.
Tribal art > African mask > Mossi Mask
African zoomorphic mask, worn on the head. This mask refers to the antelope.
Polychrome decorative motifs.
Matte patina, abrasions and desication cracks.
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 seen as the result of neglect of collective rituals. It is therefore during different celebrations that the mask will personify a spirit of nature or that of an ancestor in order to influence the daily lives of members of the ethnic group. They appear to honor the deceased during funeral rites, and to escort souls to the ...
Tribal art > African Chair > Luguru Throne
Former prestigious anthropomorphic seat. Traditional patterns are alternately chiseled on the surface.
The subject's pupils were originally encrusted with pearls. The circular seat is slightly concave, supported by an openwork base.
Nuanced brown patina, erosions and abrasions of use.
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.
Among these populations, the seats are thrones intended for the heads of lineage, each of them being under the protection of a tutelary spirit. These stools were set apart in shrines
named kolelo, guarded by priests.
Tribal art > African Statues > Mumuye Statue
Slender face flanked by huge rectangular earrings, inviting the gaze towards the shoulders draping the columnar bust like a shawl. The asymmetry of long bent arms offers the illusion of dynamics. The skirted hips overhang the parallel planes of notched legs.
Erosions and cracks. Glossy black patina.
The statuary emanating from the northwestern region of the middle Benoué, from the Kona Jukun, to the Mumuye and up to the Wurkun populations is distinguished by a relative absence of ornamentation and a refined stylization. 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 Vabong cult, from among whom are elected the heads,and ...
Tribal art > African fetish > Nkisi Dog
French African Tribal Art Collection.
Exceptional African animal figure Nkisi (pl. mankishi ), of the "koso" type, carrying a glazed cavity concealing the bishimba magic charge. The power of the fetish was further accentuated by the presence of various accessories, such as nails, cords, bones or metal. Among the Kongo, the dog, renowned for its knowledge of the supernatural world, its flair and its vision, played 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 statuary endowed with codified ...