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Tribal art - African mask:

Dedicated to various functions and uses, the mask is one of the best known pieces of African art. Generally representing a deceased person, it is used to make offerings and to dance on special occasions. African masks come in many shapes, materials and designs.


Boa basket
Tribal art > African mask > Boa basket

Rare set consisting of a basket on which are fixed a sculpted mask embellished with small bones and cowries. For the Boa, it would be a ritual altar for protection.
Grainy patina. Erosions, lacks. br /> Flanked by pierced lobes like the ear flaps of the Boa of the east, the "bavobongo", and a mouth lined with sparse teeth, this African mask gave an impressive appearance to its wearer, accentuated by the contrast of colors. Supposed to render invulnerable and with the aim of terrifying the enemy, the African mask kpongadomba or "Pongdudu" of the Boa was ordered by the chief kumu who offered it to the bravest warrior. It was then kept in his wife's hut. Close to the Mangbetu and the Zande, the Boa inhabit the savannah in the north of Democratic Republic of Congo. Some Boa ...


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380.00

Mumuye head
Tribal art > African mask > Mumuye head

This sculpture formed the top of a mumuye vertical crest mask. Masks of this nature, associated with agrarian ceremonies to promote harvests, health, and human fertility, were used by neighboring groups, Wurkun/Bikwin, Mumuye, and Jukun, established in the middle Benoué. The wearer of the mask was presumably balancing it on his head. br />
The face is topped with a crest evoking the hairstyles of the group. Elements are enhanced with polychrome pigments, and patterns associated with the scarifications in use are inscribed on the surface.
Satin patina, abrasions and erosions.
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 ...


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290.00

Mendé Mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Mendé Mask

The sowei form an idealized representation of female beauty seen through the Mende culture.They also embody aquatic spirits. This very old African mende mask is a copy of the type of masks named bundu the most important among the Mendé. It has a high bulging forehead occupying the upper half of a losangic face in which the features are concentrated in the lower area. The rings of the neck evoke an abundance of flesh that symbolizes prosperity. The bun headdress consists of fine braids picked up in side shells. The orifices bordering the contours were gnawed by the weight of the adornment over the different performances of the dancer. Painted black or tinted with a leaf brush, the mask was then rubbed with palm oil. Mate patina with a velvety touch. Localized abrasions, slight cracks, ...


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Ti wara crest
Tribal art > African mask > Ti wara crest

The Ti-wara in African art.
"Antelope" mask with balanced concentrated proportions, very soberly embellished with friezes engraved on the forehead. Traces of kaolin, smooth, satin patina, medium brown.

It would be an animal - genius called Ciwara who would have taught the Bambara to cultivate the land. The latter recall the myth through the stylized representation of an antelope, whose name ci wara means "wild of the earth. Carried at the top of the skull and held in place by a kind of small basket, 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 ...


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680.00

Pende mask
Tribal art > African mask > Pende mask

Symbolizing the wild buffalo, the African mask panya ngombe adopts a stretched, stylized form. The ears, framing long horizontal eyelids, spring out in a point towards the outer corners, conferring a dynamic. The contours are indented with decorative diamond patterns. Copies larger than required by the tribal canon were intended to be hung in the chief's hut, and logically did not present any internal signs of use. Matte black patina. Height on base: 31 cm.
The western Pende live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the eastern people have settled on the banks of the Kasai downstream from Tshikapa. The influences of neighboring ethnic groups, Mbla, Suku, Wongo, Leele, Kuba and Salempasu imprinted on their large tribal art sculpture. Within this diversity, the Mbuya masks, realistic, ...


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390.00

Lega mask
Tribal art > African mask > Lega mask

Ovoid mask in which a heart-shaped face is inscribed, in which the almond-shaped eyelids adjoin a straight nose. Velvety patina of use, old residues of kaolin. This carving indicated the stage that its holder had reached within the Bwami, an apprenticeship society composed of different grades, and joined by wives whose spouses had reached the third level, that of the ngandu. Nice abraded, matte patina of use.
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 called Warega , these individuals live in self-contained ...


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680.00

Gouro mask
Tribal art > African mask > Gouro mask

Heavy African mask with a vertical ridge on the forehead. This is a striking feature of statuary from the area between the Guro and the Bétés. The braided hairstyle is neatly represented by parallel streaks. This mask, whose function remains poorly documented, would symbolize masculine strength, and perhaps also a powerful notable named "migone". Glossy dark patina, cracks and abrasions.
The Bété form a tribe established on the left bank of the Sassandra River in the south-west of the Ivory Coast. Close to the Kouya and the Niabwa, the making of their masks, as well as their function, have great similarities.

"Guro" ed. 5Continents.


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480.00

Yoruba Mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Yoruba Mask

The Ekiti in the eastern part of the yoruba region use polychrome hem masks illustrating the prosperity of the community. Our copy is topped with a male figure based on sceptres carved with human motifs. These subjects are associated with the various gods of the Yoruba pantheon. The release of these masks, which 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 expected to increase fertility. Crusty polychrome patina.
Soruba, more than 20 million, occupy southwestern Nigeria and the central and southeastern region of Benin under the name Nago. They are patrilineal, practice excision and circumcision. The kingdoms of Oyo and Ijebu were born following the ...


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Boki mask
Tribal art > African mask > Boki mask

Presenting characteristics in common with the Okua masks of the Idomas, this mask representing a rounded face of the naturalist type bears scars in relief typical of the groups of the Cross River, including the Keakas. The implantation of the hair forms a point in the center of the forehead. The cheeks are marked with parallel streaks, the open mouth is lined with metal teeth. Dark patina, scattered crusty deposits. Desication cracks and abrasions.
The Boki, Bokyi, live in the Cross River region along the border of Nigeria located northwest of Mamfe in Cameroon. They speak an eponymous language and are part of the Benoué. Most are Christianized.

The Boki practiced the cult of the Spirit of the Leopard, whose aggressive and unpredictable character was expressed by ...


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780.00

Kongo mask
Tribal art > African mask > Kongo mask

Sculpted in soft wood, this mask offers a harmoniously modeled face in which fine lines are inscribed. Small ears coated with kaolin stand out against the matte red ocher patina.
Edge abrasions.
Height on base: 37 cm.
Present along the Gabonese coast, the Vili broke away from the Kongo kingdom in the 16th century and the Loango kingdom became a powerful state. Now urbanized for the most part, they still integrate traditional associations, depending on the worship of ancestors such as Mbouiti or Bieri. Their masks are used by the Ndunga or Djembe association, but also for the funerals of dignitaries and during traditional initiations. Still others are reserved for diviners.
The Vili , the Lâri, the Sûndi, the Woyo, the Bembe, the Bwende, the Yombé and the Kôngo ...


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380.00

Songye mask
Tribal art > African mask > Songye mask

The tight plan of the cheeks here contrasts powerfully with the spherical volume of the skull, projecting the nose and the mouth block. The gradual widening of the neck further enhances the mouth, the center of which bears fleshy lips. Letting you imagine plumage, the striated, variegated planes emphasize volumes and features, increasing the visual effect tenfold.
Matt patina, erosions.
Height on base: 52 cm.
Three types of African Kifwebe masks are listed: the masculine (kilume) generally with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) would present a more modest or even absent crest, and finally the largest embodying power (kia ndoshi). In the 16th century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba. Their society is organized ...


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950.00

Bembe mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Bembe mask

Ample orbits marked with a cross pattern, symbolizing the cardinal points, form the walls of this African mask. A raffia or papyrus adornment was attached to the outlines.
This African mask Ibulu lya 'alunga (head of the alunga) was used during the tribal ritual of the male Alunga society, exercising a social control over the clan, and responsible for public dances and ceremonies preceding the hunt.
Evocation of a spirit of the forest, this tribal mask was kept in sacred caves and it was during festivals associated with hunting and ancestor cults that it was exhibited. They also appeared during the Bwami circumcision ceremonies. Locally cracked grainy patina. Internal erosion.
The Bembe ethnic group is a Luba branch that left the Congo in the 18th century. Their ...


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Luba mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Luba mask

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This large African mask features a spherical skull framed by horns curling forward. Small animal ears point to either side of large eye sockets and a human nose. A voluminous mouth develops on the lower partc.
Smooth, lustrous patina, abrasions and cracks.
These masks occurred in different traditions: investitures, funerals, and rites against witchcraft in the different initiatory societies. In the eastern part of the Luba region, important ceremonies are held in honor of the clan's ancestors, deceased chiefs, and the new moon. Offerings are then made to the spirits of nature, intermediaries between the group and the ancestors.


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Kongo mask
Tribal art > African mask > Kongo mask

This naturalistic African mask would have been the prerogative of the nganga, priest-seer. Her mediumistic abilities, which the Kongo thought they favored by taking hallucinogenic substances, are revealed by the hollowed-out gaze and the lower eyelids underlined in red like the gaping mouth. This type of mask was called ngobudi in reference to something dreadful, terrorizing. Brilliant polychrome patina.
Height on base: 40 cm.
These mediating masks, also present in initiation processes, were used by witch doctors during healing rituals. At the same time, they were also used to identify individuals who, through their actions, could disturb the harmony of the community. In the 13th century, the Kongo people, led by their king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads of ...


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390.00

Bamana animal mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Bamana mask

Very graphic mask, whose curved jaw would evoke the "sucking" of knowledge. The deep oiled patina is raised by geometrical patterns carefully incised on the surface. Erosions. Established in central and southern Mali, in a savannah area, the Bambara, "Bamana" or "unbelievers", as the Muslims have named them, belong to the large Mande group, along with the Soninke and Malinke. Mostly farmers, but also breeders, they make up the largest ethnic group in Mali. Groups of Bambara artisans nyamakala , more specifically the blacksmiths named numu , are in charge of sculpting ritual objects, endowed with nyama , occult energy. Using fire and magical objects, the role of healer and diviner is also attributed to them Six male associations, the Dyow , using Bambara masks, structure the Bambara ...


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Pende mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Pende mask

Referring to the wild buffalo, the African mask panya ngombe adopts a singular, triangular design. It indeed presents the stylized head of an animal, whose features in low relief stretch in width. A border of lozenges tinted with pink ocher surrounds the shape. Copies larger than required by the tribal canon were intended to be hung in the chief's hut, and logically did not present any internal signs of use.
Velvety matte patina. Small chip.
Height on base: 32 cm.
The western Pende live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the eastern people have settled on the banks of the Kasai downstream from Tshikapa. The influences of neighboring ethnic groups, Mbla, Suku, Wongo, Leele, Kuba and Salempasu imprinted on their large tribal art sculpture. Within this diversity, the Mbuya ...


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Baga mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Baga mask

Spectacular African mask used for protective purposes, it was formerly used by the initiates of male secret societies during their initiation rites and funerals. It was also supposed to protect young circumcised men from evil influences. This mask dances to the sound of a three-slit drum, imitating all the attitudes of the animals represented. A mask with a long jaw, intended to communicate with the spirits of the forest, it was worn at an angle on the head. Matte polychromy locally flaked. Abrasions, cracks.
Mixed with the Nalu and Landuman, the Baga live along the coast of Guinea-Bissau in swampy regions that are flooded six months of the year. They believe in a creator god called Nagu , Naku , whom they do not represent, and who is accompanied by a male spirit, one of whose ...


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Pende Mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Pende Mask

The spendents live on the banks of the Kwilu, while the have settled on the banks of the Kasai river downstream of Tshikapa. The influences of the neighbouring ethnic groups, Mbla, Suku, Wongo, Leele, Kuba and Salempasu, were imprinted on their large tribal art sculpture. Within this diversity the masks Mbuya, realistic, produced every ten years, have a festive function, and embody different characters, including the chef, the soothsayer and his wife, the prostitute, the possessed, etc. The masks of initiation and those of power, the minganji, represent the ancestors and occur successively during the same ceremonies, agricultural festivals, initiation rituals and circumcision mukanda, induction of the chief. Wearing a loose hat consisting of a taut wicker frame of raffia canvas, and ...


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Ibibio mask
Tribal art > African mask > Ibibio mask

As if carved in stone, this mask features a face with a brow bone, a thick nose and jaw. Comparatively narrow, the eyelids have a slight asymmetry. Long, rectangular ear flaps run along the face, which is topped with a crenellated horizontal crest. Abraded speckled patina.
The Ibibios are a people of West Africa, mainly present in the south-east of Nigeria (State of Akwa Ibom), but also in Ghana, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea. Secret societies are numerous among the Ibibio settled west of the Cross River. Without a centralized government, their social organization is comparable to that of the neighboring Igbo. Ancestor worship is under the authority of the highest-ranking members of the Ekpo. The latter use masks such as the idiok, related to fallen spirits, and the mfon, ...


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490.00

Bobo mask
Tribal art > African mask > Bobo mask

Ex-collection of French African tribal art.
Mandinka 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 of the Bambara. They are organized into lineages headed by councils of elders. In each village altars are erected under the authority of the blacksmiths, priests of the cult of Dwo, but the Bobo also venerate secondary spirits and those of the ancestors. In addition to objects carved in wood, they also make fiber sheet masks that they will wear during ceremonies to establish a relationship with the spiritual world. The most important of the wooden masks are the sacred altar-masks (molo and nwenke), the masks that accompany them (nyanga) and those entertainment (Bole , sing. bolo). Before the rainy season, ...


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1950.00

Songye mask
Tribal art > African mask > Songye mask

This African mask Songye, the kikashi, offers here an almost vertical plane of the cheeks, giving a rather compact impression. The arc of the half-closed eyelids is underlined with red ochre, while areas of arcuate streaks and oblique grooves alternate on the face. The crest outlined in black is present but modest. The mouth treated in cube has an internal curve. Damaged edges, abraded matte patina.


Three variants of this mask Kifwebe ( pl. Bifwebe) or "chasing death" (Roberts), from the society of the same name, are distinguished: the masculine (kilume) generally with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) with a very low or absent crest, and finally the tallest embodying power (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still used today, seems to come from the border zone between ...


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750.00





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