French tribal art collection. The Baga Nimba mask, is characterized by a buzzed nose evoking a bird's beak, an incised hair divided by a crest. This national symbol can reach up to 50 kg in its largest versions. Real name Demba / D'mba (or Nimba in baga language), it represents the nurturing woman, but it also evokes the bird, especially the fertility of the calao thanks to its beak-shaped nose. Supposed to increase harvests, arouse pregnancies, it is exhibited at various ceremonies, celebrations and funerals, and its use continues at present during important festivities. The wearer of the mask is wrapped in raffia and conducts a dance clocked to the rhythm of drums. This miniature copy of the classic mask has adopted over the years a matte patina, clear, nuanced dark, the eroded ...
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African Ci Wara crest mask of the Bambara, Bamana, chiselled with motifs representing the coat of a male antelope, "ci wara" or "wild animal of the earth".
Medium brown, velvety patina. Resin residues. Desication cracks.
Established in central and southern Mali, the Bambara, "Bamana" or "unbelievers", as the Muslims have called them, belong to the large Mande group, like the Soninke and the Malinke.
Sculpted by the blacksmith numu, who also plays the role of diviner and healer, this crest embodies the animal - genius Ciwara who is said to have taught the Bambara to cultivate the land. Worn at the top of the skull and held in place by a basketry hat, these crests accompanied the dancers during the rituals of the tòn, an association dedicated to agricultural work. The masks ...
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This mask surmounted by a high flat and curved blade is one of the many stylistic variations of Dogon masks. Yellow ocher patina, colored highlights. Desication rings and cracks.
More than eighty types of African masks are listed among the Dogon, the best known of which are the Kanaga, Sirigé, Satimbé, Walu. Most of them are used by circumcised initiates of the Awa society, during funeral ceremonies. The Awa designates the masks, their costumes, and all the Dogons in the service of the masks. Some evoke animals, in reference to the rich cosmogony and mythology of African Dogon art. The "nyama", the mask's vital force, is activated by various rituals in order to develop the object's full magical potential.
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Collection of African Belgian art.
This African mask was used during the tribal ritual of the Elanda male society. Mask embodying the god Alunga, this panel structure has double orbits and a diamond-shaped mouth. Evocation of a spirit of the forest, this mask was kept in the sacred caves. They appeared in various guises during the Bwami circumcision and initiation ceremonies.
Matte patina, ocher beige kaolin residue, bluish highlights.
Desication cracks, native restoration.
The Bembe ethnic group is a Luba branch that left the Congo in the 18th century. Their society and artistic tendency are marked by the influence of their neighbors in the Lake Tanganyika region, the Lega, the Buyu, etc.
Indeed, like the Lega, the Bembe had a bwami association responsible for ...
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Two narrow faces traversed by a long rectangular nose are joined at the top by a crest. The features, underlined by inlaid brass leaves, form the specificity of the marka sculptures. Signs of use, old matte patina, desication cracks, erosions.
The Marka , Maraka in Bamana, Warka , or Sarakolé, are Muslim city dwellers of Soninke origin, established in southern Niger, scattered since the end of the Ghana Empire in Mali, Mauritania and Senegal.
They now speak Bamana and have adopted many of the Bambara traditions, such as the Ntomo and the Koré, initiation societies that used masks during their ceremonies.
The Bambara and Marka African art sculptors are part of the Numuw, who are not tied to an ethnic group and are free to settle wherever they wish.
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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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African art and the spectacular crest masks of the Igbo ethnic group.
African mask Igbo Agbogo Mmwo, called a young girl's mask, adopting local criteria glorifying youth and beauty, slanted eyes, emaciated face coated in white, scarifications and tattoos in checkered or in ornamental pellets. The headdress represents braided hair mixed with accessories. The white color of the mask relates to ancestral spirits, these masks frequently accompanying the deceased during funeral rites. Indeed, mmwo means "spirit of the dead". Polychrome patina.
The Igbo live in the forest in southeastern Nigeria. The religion of the Igbo includes on the one hand the god Chuku , supreme creator, considered omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent, and on the other hand the spirit of the earth ...
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African mask anthropozoomorphic, offering a powerful physiognomy. The mouth would evoke "the suction" of knowledge. The patina of use, oily, filmy, is imprinted with grainy areas. Cracks, slight chipping on one horn.
Established in central and southern Mali, in a savannah zone, the Bambara, "Bamana" or "unbelievers", belong to the large Mande group, with the Soninke and the Malinke. Groups of Bambara artisans nyamakala and blacksmiths named numu are in charge of carving ritual objects, endowed with the nyama. Six male associations, the Dyow, using Bambara masks, structure the Bambara community: young people first enter the circumcision society n'tomo, then comes that of the komo, the nama, the kono, the koré and finally the agrarian society Tyi Wara
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Work of great purity of lines, provided with a wide gaping jaw surmounted by two pointed ears. The simply pierced, split gaze contributes to the expressive force of the mask.
Height on base: 47 cm.
Smooth and satiny nuanced brown patina.
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.
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 ...
The African mask called "racing", Gunye ge, actor of social order among the Dan, has large eye sockets and a red textile wolf. It is also embellished with a raffia beard.
Height on base: 39 cm.
Black brown lustrous patina. Slight crack on the outline.
The masks equipped with round orbits ( gunye ge), facilitating vision, are part of the set of northern Dan masks and are used for racing events during of the dry season. The zapkei ge, also equipped with circular orbits, are responsible for preventing fires by watching over domestic fires.
For the Dan, or Yacouba, living in the west of the Ivory Coast and in Liberia, the “dü” force which would animate the world would manifest itself in the sculpted masks. It is in this way that she seeks to bring knowledge to man in order ...
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The African Sénufo masks are worn by members of the Poro society, an institution that controls political and economic life. Their function is to honor the elders or even appear at funerals. The masks would primarily drive the spirit of the deceased from its place of residence. The Senoufo Kpelié tribal mask means "jumping mask".
Rare Kpélié variant with a beautiful balance, coated with a powdery ocher patina.
In the center of the summit horns rises a head sculpted with the features of the mask. The side fins take on a geometric shape here.
Height on base: 65 cm.
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Rare and old fang type mask, the center of which is coated with a pink ocher tint.
Intended to unmask sorcerers, this type of African mask was carved on the eve of ceremonies. The austere physiognomy was meant to counter occult powers. Accompanied by words, gestures, dances and sacrifices, it also intervened during initiations out of sight of the profane. Matte grainy patina. Abrasions, cracks.
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 ...
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A subtle expression of detachment imprints the harmonious features of this narrow mask. The pimple scarifications here form a salient relief, reminiscent of the triple shell headdress. Locally chipped velvety patina.
The white African 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 being spread over several levels of initiation, to which all the Punu men belonged, and whose emblem was the caiman (hence, for some, the pattern with saurian scales). The mask, evocation of a deceased young woman, was exhibited during the dance called Okuyi. The powerful secret societies, which also had a judicial function, featured several dances, including the leopard dance, the ...
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Uncommon version of the "Kpélié" or "jumping mask", worn during initiations symbolically marking a death followed by a rebirth. The side growths and horns are present, however it is a reference to the hornbill that appears at the top. The pointed lower lip suggests the presence of a labret. Locally grainy matte patina, beige brown, cracking.
Height on base: 73 cm.
The African Sénufo masks are worn by male members of the Poro society, an institution that controls political and economic life. Kept in the sacred enclosure named sezang in order to hide them from the gaze of the uninitiated, their function is to honor the elders or even appear at funerals. Anthropomorphic masks would primarily chase the spirit of the deceased from its place of residence. Named “wife of the Dô” by ...
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The Binji are a small people from the Bushoong branch, established in the east of the former Kuba kingdom. A regional version of the Bwoom mask, its swollen cheeks indicate that it embodies an outgoing or violent character, appearing mainly during initiation ceremonies and funerals. Crusty dark brown patina, locally flaking, desiccation cracks.
More than twenty types of masks are used among the Kuba, with meanings and functions that vary from group to group. Three types of masks have been associated with dances that take place in the royal enclosure: the first, called Moshambwooy, represents Woot, the founder of the Bushoong, the culture hero. The second, known as Nady Amwaash (Ngaady Un Mwash), plays Woot's wife/sister, a character said to have been introduced for the sake of ...
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The tradition of puppet theater is common to the multi-ethnic peoples living in the interior delta of the Niger, including the Bozo, in particular in the region of Ségou where it is called "sogobo". This element of a puppet-mask represents an antelope thanks to planes and geometric patterns.
Abrasions of use, erosions.
Height on base: 64 cm.
In Mali, the invention of the puppet is attributed to the geniuses of the bush who kidnapped Toboji Centa, a Bozo fisherman.
During his stay with the geniuses, the man becomes familiar with this unknown art. Upon his return he went to the blacksmith sculptors and taught them how to make puppets of two kinds: miniaturized or enlarged animals and people.
The Markha have an initiatory language, a means of communication in the hands of ...
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This African Mossi mask is coated with a thick clayey material imprisoning cowries and abrus seeds between two curved horns. It still has its thick vegetable fiber adornment. The bearer of the mask and his family worshiped the object through offerings such as millet beer, while invoking its protection.
The Mossi masks, personal or lineage, constitute an incarnation of tutelary spirits offering their support. They perform at burials, funerals of clan chiefs, protect crops. Their appearance is now frequent during entertainment shows. Upper Volta, Burkina Faso since independence, is made up of the descendants of the Nakomse invaders, horsemen from Ghana, and the Tengabibisi, descendants of the natives. Among them, farmers and blacksmiths, saaba, used masks, wando, receptacles of ...
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This African mask was exhibited during the Okuyi. Wearing voluminous double cups, her scarified, checkered patterns on the forehead, mabinda, also highlight her wide face with high cheekbones. These keloid marks are associated, according to some authors, with the nine clans that founded the Kongo kingdom.
Abraded matt two-tone patina, desiccation cracks.
The white masks of Gabon, itengi, (pl. bitengi) were associated with the various secret societies of Gabon, including the Bwiti, Bwete, and the Mwiri i> ("to lead"), the latter being spread over several levels of initiation, and to which all the Punu men belonged. Its emblem was the caiman.
These powerful secret societies, which also had a judicial function, featured several dances, including the ...
Theme of the bird in African art
A hornbill beak forms the mouth of this rare African Dan Maou hybrid type mask. The eyes are coated with kaolin like the "gunye gei" racing mask. The upper part of the forehead, rounded, is sheathed in leather delimited by a string of abrus berries.
Interesting grainy oiled patina.
Height on base: 38 cm.
The Dan populations of the north known as Yacouba of the Ivory Coast and the Maou of Touba (Maouka), after having borrowed from the People > mended close to this type of anthropo-zoomorphic masks, they are used in secret male ceremonies, including the Koma of the Maou and the Poro society of the Dan.
For the Dan of Côte d'Ivoire, a Malinké people also called Yacouba , two very distinct universes oppose each ...
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This mask offers elements reminiscent of the traditional sculpture of the Lula's close neighbors: Nkanu, Holo, Zombo, and Yaka. Like these groups, they make use of colored pigments. The face sculpted in relief is surrounded by a flat part giving the whole the appearance of a shield, from which two forms stand out: the upper part of the face with strong jowls, and a mouth like that of a skeleton.
Crusty matte patina. Abrasions.
This ethnic group close to the Yaka is settled along the Nséki River in the south-west of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Lula live in small autonomous villages, hunting and fishing.
We notice on their sculptures scarifications close to those of the Téké while the headdresses and the general morphology of the ...
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Ex-collection French African tribal art
Intended to unmask sorcerers, this helmet mask, of the Fang Ngil type, bleached with kaolin, which was sculpted on the eve of ceremonies, reflects the desire to capture the mysteries of the night and to intimidate opposing forces. Accompanied by words, gestures, dances and sacrifices, this type of African mask also intervened during initiations out of sight of the profane. Matte patina, erosions and losses.
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. Guarantor of peace, the ngil also fixed the seasons, the location where the villages were to be established, and the conditions for the exploitation of agricultural ...
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