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Tribal art - African fetish:

Fetishes are emblematic objects in primitive African art. Used by fetishers and marabouts, they are linked to many occult practices such as those used by voodoo.


Couple of figures Boccio, Botchio, Fon
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Tribal art > African Statues > Vaudou statue

These two carved figures, collected in Bohicon, Benin, are free of accessories. The vigorously carved forms rise from a block. Large digitized hands close over the bust, and the faces express a powerful concentration. Wood coated with pink ochre, velvety surface.
The botchio (from bo : "evil spell" in Fon, and tchio , "corpse") erected at the top of a pole was erected at the entrance to the village or a house in order to ward off any threat, physical or spiritual. Some of them had minimalist forms, barely sketched around a central trunk. The multitude of fon gods (the vodun), similar to those of the Yoruba under different names, are represented by fetishes of all shapes and nature. Their shrines are found in Togo, Dahomey, and western Nigeria. Statuettes embodying ...

Dogon fetish statuette
Tribal art > African Statues > Dogon Statuette

Exceptional African Dogon statuette collected in the 1950s by Monsieur Arnaud, accompanying Alain Bilot,
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renowned collector of Dogon art during study trips to Mali.

This sculpture depicts a woman wearing an elaborate headdress, standing with her legs tightly bent halfway, perched on a small pedestal. She presents an infant resting on forearms of inordinate length. An interesting grainy patina attests to the libations administered. 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 ...


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740.00

Dogon figurines
Tribal art > African fetish > Dogon figurines

Belgian African art collection.
Effigy of figurative ancestor seated, hands resting on knees. In African tribal art, this type of sculpture associated with individual worship adorned the Dogon family altar. Thick ritual crusty patina.

Carved for the most part on commission by a family, Dogon statues can also be the object of worship by the entire community. However, their functions remain little known. In parallel with Islam, Dogon religious rites are organized around four main cults: the Lebe, relating to fertility, under the spiritual authority of the Hogon, the Wagem, the cult of the ancestors under the authority of the patriarch, the Binou invoking the world of the spirits and directed by the priest of the Binou, and the society of the masks concerning funerals.


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390.00

Songye Nkishi statue
Tribal art > African Statues > Songye statue

Ample head with the features of the kifwebe mask for this work sculpted by the Songye, dedicated to a traditional magical use. This large fetish was individualized by the nganga for his client through symbolic and ritual elements in the form of metal, animal skin skirt, belt forming a braided raffia coil, and summit horn.
Misses, velvety matt patina, cracks.
These protection fetishes intended for dwellings come in a variety of styles in the many chiefdoms of Songye country. The Nkisi, Nkishi, acts as a mediator between gods and men. The large specimens are the collective property of an entire village, the smaller figures being of private use.
In the 16th century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba. Their society is ...


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950.00

Statue Nkisi Nkondi Solongo / Woyo
Tribal art > African Statues > Nkondi statue

African Kongo art and its spiritual receptacles
This village fetish relating to the khimba society, has, in Kongo tribal culture, a protective function against witchcraft. This tribal sculpture studded with nails is qualified as a "nkisi" object thanks to the cylindrical receptacle on the abdomen loaded with "bilongo" magical ingredients (organic and vegetable matter). It is closed by a mirror on which a resin has been applied. The glazed look constituting the famous Kongo look suggests an extralucid capacity.

Matt patina, polychrome highlights, cracks. In the 13th century, the Kongo people, led by their king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads between the present-day DRC, Angola and Gabon. Two centuries later, the Portuguese came into contact with ...


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1180.00

Lobi Bateba masculine figurines
Tribal art > African Statues > Lobi figure

This Lobi statuette "Bateba" was placed on the altar after a ritual to become the receptacle of a bush spirit, the Thil, and thus become an active being, an intermediary who fights against sorcerers and all other evil forces. The small spherical head, slightly tilted to the side, surmounts a narrow bust with drooping shoulders and arms that are placed alongside the body. The figure stands upright on wide feet. Golden brown glossy surface showing the wood grain.
When honored, these spirits manifest their benevolence in the form of abundant rains, good health, numerous births; Ignored, they withdraw it and bring devastating epidemics, drought and suffering.
These spirits transmit to the diviners the laws that the followers must follow to receive their protection.
They ...


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380.00

Statue of Congo Nkishi
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Tribal art > African Statues > Statue of Congo

Removable arms, fixed horizontally, give a defensive attitude to this Kongo fetish. It is also fitted with an abdominal cavity. Magical ingredients (bilongo), for therapeutic or protective purposes, were to be introduced by the nganga . The Vili produced a variety of sculptures for individual use nkisi , to which multiple virtues were attributed. Wide-eyed eyes symbolize foresight in a face wearing a flat hat. A red textile, highlighted with a nailing, drapes the bust, abdomen and skirt. Patine mate.
The Vili, the Lâri, the Sûndi, the Woyo, the Bembé, the Bwende, the Yombé and the Kôngo formed the group Kôngo , led by King ntotela. Their kingdom reached its peak in the 16th century with the ivory, copper and slave trade. Similarly, beliefs and traditions, they produced a statuary ...


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Songye Nkisi fetish statue
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Tribal art > African fetish > Songye fetish

Fetish statue Nkisi , nkishi (pl. mankishi ) anthropomorphic of the most fascinating, with a piercing gaze encrusted with cowries. The cone-shaped mouth reinforces the expressiveness of the face. A horn springs from the large head extended by a beard. The umbilicus and the beard are underlined by nails. Dark satin patina. Desiccation cracks and chips.

These protective fetishes for homes are among the most prized in Africa. The Nkisi plays the role of mediator between gods and men. The large examples are the collective property of an entire village, while the smaller figures belong to an individual or a family. In the sixteenth century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle on the left bank of the Lualaba River. Their society is organized in a patriarchal ...


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Female figure Lobi Bateba
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Tribal art > African Statues > Lobi statue

Ex Belgian tribal art collection.
Frontal posture, straight head, legs spread and arms pressed against the bust, this African Lobi statue, of a powerful character, offers a face whose modelling makes expressive features stand out.
This ancient wooden sculpture, the Bateba, was placed on the altar after a ritual to become the receptacle of a bush spirit, the Thil, and thus become an active, intermediary being who fights against sorcerers and all other harmful forces.
The lumpy surface is the result of ritual libations.
When honored, these spirits manifest their benevolence in the form of abundant rains, good health, numerous births; Ignored, they withdraw it and bring devastating epidemics, drought and suffering. These spirits convey to the diviners the laws ...


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Zigua initiation figure
Tribal art > African Statues > Zigua figure

Spherical head framed by large ears and pierced pupils, tubular bust and semi-flexed legs, this statue without arms is swaddled in a cloth on which dark residues crystallize.
Among the Zigua, this type of sculpture was used as a support for initiation. The Sukuma of northern Tanzania use similar figures.
This piece of tribal art comes from the northeastern region of Tanzania, bordering Kenya, facing the Indian Ocean, where the Paré, Shamba, Zigua, and Mbugu tribes live. A relative homogeneity characterizes the productions of these groups, recalling some of the Malagasy and Batak with whom, via maritime trade, contact could once have been established. This sculpture was probably used for didactic purposes during male initiations. It could also embody an ancestor or a ...


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490.00

Kongo Nkishi fetish statue
Tribal art > African Statues > Kongo statue

African magic-religious objects.
Consecrated by the priest nganga, this type of African clan sculpture has a magical charge lodged in the glass-sealed ventral cavity. The statue also carries, on the back, a kind of swaddled bundle.
The charge or bilongo consisted of various ingredients from the natural environment including red clay, red wood powder tukula , white clay pembe... , but possibly human fragments such as teeth, nails, hair. The arms are truncated. This fetish of conjuration was thus supposed to influence the health, prosperity, enemies of its holder. The headdress is characteristic of the statuary of Beembe and Yombe, other tribes of the Kongo group. Among the Kongo, the specialist named nganga ,was in charge of rituals by activating a ...


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770.00

Lega figure in ivory
Tribal art > Antique Ivories, African ivory statuette > Lega ivory

Among the variety of objects held by the Lega initiates of the Bwami Association, this rare ivory sculpture depicts a couple standing back to back on a Bwami stool. The object, while illustrating a notion of equality between the sexes, could refer to the primordial couple. Amber oiled patina. Partially chipped at the top.

The Bwami governed the lega social structure, open to circumcised adults and their wives and instructed their adherents in terms of moral perfection.  These objects are part of the masengo, meaning that they are sacred and therefore can only be worn by the initiated. The owner cannot part with them during his or her lifetime. Bwami has different degrees, with the yananio and kindi being the highest. The teacher guided the aspirant to a place where ...


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1550.00

Statue Congo Vili Nkisi, Nkishi
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Tribal art > African Statues > Kongo Fetish

E.g. Belgian collection of African art Mercier.
Plots of elements bilongo (or bolongo) conferring a magical, offensive or defensive virtue, to this nkisi statue are housed in the reliquary, shuttered by a glass, arranged on the abdomen. The face expresses an aggressiveness reinforced by the hollowed-out, gaping mouth, and the woman's gaze. With contrasting colours, the effigy is threatening. The detail of the dorsal ribs could indicate, according to W.MACGAFFEY in "Treasuries of Africa", a respiratory disease.
Abrasions, desication cracks, erosions on the top of the head and base.
The Vili, the Lri, the Sûndi, the Woyo, the Bembé, the Bwende, the Yombé and the Kongo formed the group Kôngo , led by King ntotela . Their kingdom reached its apogee in the 16th century with ...

Statuette Congo Yombe
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Tribal art > African fetish > Kongo Fetish

In the 13th century, the Kongo people, led by their king Ne Kongo, settled in a region at the crossroads of the borders between present-day DRC, Angola and Gabon. Two centuries later, the Portuguese came into contact with the Kongo and converted their king to Christianity. Although monarchical, the Kongo political system had a democratic aspect because the king was actually placed at the head of the kingdom following an election held by a council of tribal governors. This king, also known as ntotela , controlled the appointment of court and provincial officials. The nganga, both healers, were in charge of religious activities and mediation with the God called Nzambi through consecrated figures named nkisi . These figures have a magical charge usually lodged on the abdomen behind a mirror ...


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Songye fetish figure
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Tribal art > African fetish > Songye figure

A mediator object of a rare type, loaded with symbolic accessories and a twisted metal rod intended to grip the fetish. A thick, orange, crusty patina covers the sculpture.
The Songye fetish, a magical sculpture Nkisi, nkishi (pl. mankishi ), plays the role of mediator between gods and men. The larger specimens are collectively owned by an entire village, while the smaller figures belong to an individual or a family. In the 16th century, the Songyes migrated from the Shaba region to settle in Kasai, Katanga and South Kivu. Their society is organized in a patriarchal manner. Their history is inseparable from that of the Luba to whom they are related through common ancestors. Divination is very present in their society and allowed them to discover sorcerers and to shed ...


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Ritual statuette Songye Boanga
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Tribal art > African fetish > Statuette Kakudji

Used as part of divinatory practices, this type of statuette-bust, here in a metal cup, in a gourd in most cases, is surrounded by small plant, mineral and animal elements. The bust is sculpted so that the object can be grasped under the arms with iron rods, just like the big fetishes. These magical sculptures are used by the Kusu, The Southern Songye and the Hemba. The face of the fetish is cut with the features of the kifwebe mask, a perforation remains on the skull, in which the tip of a horn was to be embedded.
The Songye came from the Shaba region of the DRC and settled between the Lualaba River and the Sankuru River in the middle of the savannah and forests. They are governed by the yakitengé and by local leaders. The secret society Bwadi however, counterbalances their power. ...

Boli Bambara fetish
Tribal art > African Statues > Boli fetish

Called boli ( pl. boliw ), buffalo, in African art, this fetish of varying size plays a central role in the ritual life of the Mandingo region. There are pocket "Boliw", and others that belong to chieftaincies, initiation societies such as the Kono and Komo male initiation associations whose members progress through a process spanning decades, and even states.
The main function of a boli is to accumulate and control the natural life force called nyama for the spiritual benefit of the community . Used as altars or performed during dance performances , they are creations conceived from revelations miraculously granted to the bush genies and transmitted to the diviners , employing active amalgams from nature and , or organic : daliluw. Animal bones, plant materials, honey and ...


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750.00

Solongo Kongo fetish statue
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Tribal art > African fetish > Solongo Fetish

Power fetishes in African art.
This naturalist figure with an aggressive gesture has an oval face characteristic of the Solongo of Angola, the latter supplying the Kongo clans. The glassy gaze of the pupils at the pinhead is wide open, which is the prerogative of an elder. Indeed, only middle-aged people can stare at us with such insistence in order to alert us to problems or odds. (The Kongo Gesture)
Placed on the abdomen, in a quadrangular cavity blocked by a glass, ingredients constitute a magical charge, whose iron nails that lard the piece strengthen the power. Clay libatory residues clumped on the surface, locally draped with textile strips.
Patine mate, kaolin libation residues.

In the Kongo kingdom, nganga took care of the rituals by activating a ...

Mossi Biga fertility charm
Tribal art > African fetish > Biga doll

Anthropomorphic figure in bronze evoking a young Mossi woman. A ritual statuette supposed to help in conception, it was made in metal by the Mossi blacksmith, who was also in charge of the carved wooden examples. The use of dolls by young African women is not exclusively within the context of initiation. When menstruation appears, the young girl is considered as a potential mother. In many ethnic groups, the search for fertility is then done through initiation rites. Wooden figures are then carved, some reflecting both genders, often dressed in beads and clothes. During the period of seclusion, the doll, which becomes a child that requires daily feeding, washing and anointing, becomes the girl's only companion. After the initiation, they will be carried on the back of the women, or ...


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385.00

Dogon Ritual Sculpture
Tribal art > African fetish > Dogon Altar

Created with great sensitivity, this sculpture, which belonged to a lineage, reflects one of the many facets of the Dogon worldview. The statuette at the top represents the incarnation of an ancestor, the ladder allowing the ascent of spirits to the afterlife. The gradations also form an image of the different stages of an individual's life toward the ultimate goal. The gobo , iron hook, is stuck into the wood, recalling the sacred role of the blacksmith. Grainy sacrificial patina, light chips.
The Dakar-Djibouti mission of 1931, led by Marcel Griaule, was charged with studying in depth the rites of this population established in the region of the Bandiagara cliffs. The Dogon are thought to be composed of several peoples who found refuge there following repeated droughts or ...


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680.00

Fetish statue Nkisi Vili
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Tribal art > African fetish > Vili Fetish

Ex American tribal art collection.

Consecrated by the nganga, endowed with a magic charge (bilongo) housed in a box closed by a mirror, this statuette meets the criteria of nksi objects. The Vili produced a variety of sculptures of individual use nkisi , to which multiple virtues were attributed. The glazed eyes, encircled with resin, symbolize clairvoyance in a face with naturalistic features. Various accessories are present, some of which would accentuate the power of the object, metal in the form of a padlock, basketry backpack lined with textile, headdress made of leather, strips of fabric and feathers. Eroded base. Chocolate shiny patina.
The Vili, the Lâri, the Sûndi, the Woyo, the Bembé, the Bwende, the Yombé and the Kôngo formed the group Kôngo, led by the king ...


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