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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.


Bambara, Bamana mask
Tribal art > African mask > Bamana mask

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This African Bambara mask is topped by a stylized crest. The eyes, framed by circular ears, are set under a bulbous forehead decorated with fine scarified patterns, while an imposing busted nose dominates narrow prominent lips.
The smooth, lustrous patina is adjacent to residues encrusted with light pigments.
Native restoration at the top.
The Bambara , Bamana , are found in central and southern Mali. The name means "unbeliever" and was given to them by the Muslims. They belong to the large Mande group, like the Soninke and Malinke. Animists, they also believe in the existence of a creator god generically called Ngala, who has 266 sacred attributes.
His existence coexists with another androgynous god called Faro, master of the Word, who gave ...


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750.00

Baule Ndoma mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Baule Ndoma mask

This distinctive face of African masks of young girls presents, in the center of the heart-shaped eyebrow arch marked with the ngole sign, a long nasal bridge surmounting a hollowed-out mouth that seems to emit a breath. Its headdress divided into several braided shells is finely striated. This ancient piece of tribal art has an oiled patina, particularly polished in places, and granular remains. Reddish pigments appear around the raised rhombuses representing the scarifications. This mask shows abrasions from wear and tear, and the holes used to attach the raffia finery are visibly eroded by use.  These Baule portrait masks, ndoma , which are part of one of the oldest Baule artistic traditions and frequently represent an idealized character, have the particularity of appearing at the ...


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Songye Kifwebe Kilume mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Songye mask

Incised with striations that emphasize the arc of the eyelids and then extend horizontally across the temples, this mask is also engraved with broken lines on the lower 2/3. A wide black band runs from the mouth to the neck, responding to the dark-tinted organs and reinforcing the visual aspect of the latter.
Velvety smooth patina, abraded on protrusions. Desiccation cracks.  Three types of African Kifwebe masks are listed: the male (kilume) generally with a high crest, the female (kikashi) would present a more modest crest or even absent, and finally the largest incarnating 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 in a patriarchal manner. Their history is ...


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Baga Sibondel mask
Tribal art > African mask > Baga mask

Rare sculpture formed by a composite assembly of removable characters, embedded in a wrought case. The sides of the latter, flanked by a cheerful hare's head as a "figurehead", are artistically decorated with decorative motifs. Female figures, Muslims, characters perched on a motorcycle, and bird figures are cheerfully displayed on the platform surrounded by crenellated borders. The whole, a variant of the bird mask still appearing today, was generally made of cheese wood. Polychrome matt patina. Mixed with the Nalu and Landuman, the Baga live along the coast of Guinea-Bissau in swampy areas that are flooded six months a year. These Baga groups, who live on the coast and live from rice cultivation, are made up of seven sub-groups, including the Baga Kalum, Bulongic, Baga Sitem, Baga ...


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2800.00

Mask Lumbu, Loumbo, Mbumba
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Tribal art > African mask > Lumbu Mask

Ex-collection of Belgian African tribal art.

Within the group named Shira ,the Lumbu Loumbu, Balumbu, of Bantu origin and originating from the Congo kingdom, settled on the coastal part of Gabon, and in the Republic Congo, in the middle Ogooue. They keep the bones of their ancestors in reliquary baskets decorated with statuettes and other prestigious objects. This rare mask with a face bleached with kaolin, evocation of a dead woman, was used during the Okuyi dance and ancestor worship, ritual practices they shared with the Punu. The face of this ancient mask has no scarification, the eyes are glazed like the works of the Kongo clans, the nose is flat, the mouth has a prominent lower lip, and the chin is pointed. The hair is separated on both sides by a thick braided parting. ...


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Dogon Gomintogo mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Dogon mask

The Domintogo masks, with their high ears, were carved in reference to a deer that a farmer had killed. To protect himself from the vengeance of his nyama , or spirit, a wooden mask was made on the advice of the diviner. The masks were regularly repainted on the occasion of new celebrations, in this case using natural ochre pigments and a black pastillage on a cream background. Abrasions.
The Dogon people are renowned in African art for the myths and beliefs relating to their cosmogony.
Their population is estimated at about 300,000 souls living southwest of the Niger loop in the Mopti region of Mali (Bandiagara, Koro, Banka), near Douentza and part of northern Burkina (northwest of Ouahigouya). They produce more than 80 types of masks, of which the best known are the ...


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Masque Igbo Agbogo Mwo
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Tribal art > African mask > Igbo Mask

This African Igbo mask, named Ikorodo in the Nsukka region of southern Nigeria, glorifies youth and beauty through narrow eye slits, a face with sharp white coated features, scarification and tattoos and a high headdress. br> The white color of the agbo-gho-mmwo mask refers to ancestral spirits, these masks frequently accompany the deceased during funeral rites. Indeed, mmwo means "spirit of the dead", and more particularly of young girls, although it is worn by young men to honor the spirit of the earth. Abraded matte patina.
The Igbo live in the forest in southeastern Nigeria. They have 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 ...


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Punu /Shira Mask
Tribal art > African mask > Punu Mask

Coated with white and devoid of scarification, this mask presents a face covered with a single non-striped shell, slightly perched in an oblique visor. The rounded eyelids follow the pattern of the eyebrows, while the fine nose overlooks a well-drawn mouth. These hairstyles, which come in different forms, illustrate women's fashion during the 19th century in Gabon. This mask was intended to establish a link with the world of the spirits and ancestors to whom protective and beneficial virtues were attributed. Semi-matt patina.
Okuyi masks were exhibited during rituals of ancient origins in which dancers on stilts were waving in order to invoke the spirit of a deceased person with a mask representing a beautiful young woman.


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490.00

Idoma Okua crest mask
Tribal art > African mask > Idoma mask

This rare example of the African Okua mask associated with funerary rites has thin walls for contours. Under the incision of the eyes, the cheekbones are hollowed out. The fine lines, highlighted with black and red pigments, are enhanced by the visibly old kaolin patina. The numerous perforations of the contours show irregular formats. Erosion of the contours. The Idoma settled at the confluence of the Benue and Niger rivers. Numbering 500,000, they were farmers and traders. The neighborhood and therefore the influences of the Igbo, the ethnic groups of the Cross River and Igala have generated stylistic borrowings and great tribal similarities. The royal lineage members of their oglinye society, glorifying courage, use masks and crests during funerals and festivities. They also ...


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850.00

Masque Eket Ibibio
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Tribal art > African mask > Masque Eket

The Eket carve circular masks for agricultural festivals and funeral ceremonies of the society Ekpo . In the center, the small face would be associated with the "Grandmother", creative spirit linked to the full moon. The triangular decorative motifs symbolize the necklaces of animal teeth worn by members of the Idiong diviner society during certain ceremonies. A collar came to halo the mask, fixed to the perforations of the contours. Crusty matt patina. Height on base : 38 cm.
The 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. The cult of ancestors is under the authority of the highest ranking members of the Ekpo. The latter use masks ...


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Hemba Mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Hemba Mask

The Hemba are a subgroup of the Luba ethnic group living in southeastern Dr. Congo, east of the Lualaba River, best known for their statuary representing chiefs. The pieces called soko mutu , suku muntu , (from Swahili," man's brother", and KiHemba, ibombo ya soho : "face de singe") belonged to the cult of ancestors and existed in two forms: on the one hand large masks used in ritual dances, and on the other hand, small masks or statuettes used as gifts, were hung in the boxes as protective amulets. These masks have recently been renamed mwisi gwa so'o , which expresses a concept that it is a chimpanzee spirit that would be embodied in the mask. This type of mask seems to be a version with human features. The broad, grimacing mouth forms a horizontal gap in the lower part. The eyes are ...


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Songye KIfwebe Mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Songye Mask

Large scale for this songye mask with large tricolour stripes tinged with natural pigments. The ridge of the nose extends towards the head of a majestic sagittal crest. The mouth points in parallelepiped. Eroded contours, cracks, grainy matte patina.
High on a base: 85 cm.
This types of African art mask Kifwebe are listed: the masculine (kilume) usually with a high crest, the feminine (kikashi) would present a more modest crest or absent, and finally the greater 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 in a patriarchal way. Their history is inseparable from that of the Luba to whom they are related through common ancestors. The Songyes have created ...


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Ngil s Fang Mask
Tribal art > African mask > Fang Mask

In the category of the very large masks of Africa, the fang masks, generally coated with kaolin (the white color evokes the power of the ancestors), intervened in the middle of the night, their appearance arousing fright. They were used by the male society ngil which no longer exists today. This secret society was in charge of initiations and fought against witchcraft. The ngil consisted of a purifying fire rite symbolized by the gorilla. Matte and velvety patina, golden. Fingerprints of xylophagous animals now eradicated.
The Fang, formerly called Pahouin, are divided into several subsets in three countries, Cameroon, Gabon, and the mainland of Equatorial Guinea. Mainly hunters, they also practice agriculture. The wearers of these masks, always in large numbers, made ...


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390.00

Songye Kifwebe Ndoshi mask and costume
Tribal art > African mask > Songye Mask

This large African Songye mask, the kikashi, embodies a positive force. The half-closed palpebral slits are stretched toward the temples, the nose and mouth protruding rectangularly. The naso-frontal crest blends harmoniously with the forehead. Large circular bands are engraved on the surface. Chipped matte patina. Equipped with its raffia suit ( 100 cm) embroidered with seeds, extended on the back with a bunch of feathers.

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 crest or even absent, and finally the largest embodying power (kia ndoshi). This type of mask, still used today, seems to come from the ...

Baga Bansonyi Snake Mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Bansonyi Mask

This African mask features a naja snake with dilated pupils. Polychrome orange motifs adorn its surface. Desication cracks. Eroded base reinforced by a metal base. Old room.
As african serpentiform initiation group used mainly by Bulongic (Kifinda village), subgroup Baga on Guinean coastline, its size can be up to 2.50 m. These masks were divided into two groups bearing the names Mosolo kombo and Sangaran , each with precise functions. Their design took shape in an esoteric context, at night in the forest. Privileges of initiated men, embodying a spiritual entity, the Baga Sangaran masks attended only circumcision, every 24 years according to the ethnologist Denise Paulme. During some dances the mask was placed on the head, balanced by a bamboo structure and by the arms of the ...


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Dogon Satimbe Mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Dogon Mask

The masks satimbe have the particularity of being surmounted by a character representing Ya Sigine , a woman whose role is to be the counterweight of the male omnipotence in the social and political order within Dogon society.
The mask itself is pure, abstract, its features are geometric. Abraded matt patina.

The Dogon are a people renowned for their cosmogony, their esotericism, their myths and legends. Their population is estimated at about 300,000 souls living southwest of the Niger loop in the Mopti region of Mali (Bandiagara, ...


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Igbo or Eket Dance Crest
Tribal art > African mask > Igbo Mask

Endowed with a morphology with both feminine and masculine characters, this statue is erected on a base overhanging a calotte mask. The semi-flexed legs, however, evoke the tribal dance mbombo of the young girls during the Ogbom ceremonies, held before the altar at the close of the periods of seclusion. This danced ritual was dedicated to the deity of the earth named Ala among the Igbo, and Isong among the Ibibio . The crest masks were then kept near the chimney flues of the huts in order to be protected from insects. Thick cracked patina, colored highlights, localized abrasions. Old break on the nose and cracks.
The Eket , established in southeastern Nigeria, are a subgroup of the Ibibio ethnic group renowned for their expressive masks. They are a patrilineal society whose ...


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980.00

Igbo Agbogo Mmwo Mask
Tribal art > African mask > Igbo Mask

African art and the spectacular crest masks of the Igbo ethnic group.
African Igbo mask Agbogo Mmwo adopting traditional conventions glorifying youth and beauty, with narrow slits in the eyes, an emaciated face coated with white, scarifications and tattoos in checkerboards or ornamental pellets. The high headdress is composed of openwork half disks mixed with braids.
The white color of the mask refers to the ancestral spirits, these masks frequently accompanying the deceased during funeral rites. Indeed, mmwo means "spirit of the dead." Matt patina, cracks and abrasions.
The Igbo live in the forest in southeast Nigeria. They have managed to combine a strong sense of individuality with an equally strong sense of group belonging. Their political system is ...


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680.00

Kuba Ngeende Isheen imalu mask
Tribal art > African mask > Kuba mask

Nature spirits, the ngesh , were believed to be embodied in Kuba masks during the dances. The footprints of the dancers were then erased so as not to "hurt" the women venturing into the dance area. The mask on the other side appeared during initiation ceremonies, sometimes at the funerals of notables. This warrior mask, not belonging to the royal masks, named Ishyeen imaalu and also Pwoom itok , belonged to the babende society. It has exorbitant conical pupils set off by eyebrows extended with horns that refer to warrior headdresses. The pigments of the decorative motifs remain very weakly visible. Misses and cracks of desiccation. Height on base: 44 cm. The Kuba kingdom was founded in the 16th century by the main Bushoong tribe which is still ruled by a king today, and whose ...


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390.00

Bobo Fing Nyanga Mask
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Tribal art > African mask > Bobo Mask

Anthropo-zoomorphic mask surmounted by rounded horns in arch. Abraded matte polychromy. Desiccation cracks. 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 . They are organized into lineages led by councils of elders. In each village altars are erected under the authority of blacksmiths , priests of the Dwo cult, but the Bobo also worship secondary spirits and those of ancestors. In addition to objects carved from wood, they also make masks from fiber sheets to wear during ceremonies in order to establish a relationship with the spiritual world. The most important of the wooden masks are the sacred altar masks ( molo and nwenke ), the accompanying masks ( nyanga ), and those for ...


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Crest Ekoi Ejagham
Tribal art > African mask > Crest Ekoi

Scroll crests in Ejagham/Ekoi African art.
From a circular base decorated with mirrors rises a realistic type head, carried by a high neck. The headdress is made of braids gathered in volutes. The dancer's costume consisted of a large mesh of raffia cords, and more recently, cotton fabric. The masks were coated with palm oil before use, and placed in daylight so that their leather would soften and take on a satisfactory luster. Oily, shiny patina.
Leopard societies, such as the Kpe male society, Ngbe among the Aro, used this model of crest for initiation ceremonies or funerals of association members, but also during agricultural rituals. The hairstyle would represent the hairstyle of the young women named Moninkim at the end of their traditional seclusion during which the ...


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580.00





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