The usual African objects have always been the means of choice for the artistic expression of African sculptors, especially in Côte d'Ivoire. The rice spoons of the Baoulé, and the Dan neighbors, were not only intended to be offered to the most hospitable woman in the community, as a trophy. They were used at community meals that closed traditional festivals and ritual ceremonies, but were also used for fertility rituals: rice was then thrown at the crowd to ensure protection and fertility. The spoon extends from a female bust with a long curved neck. The latter supports a graceful head with features and a very delicately chiseled hairstyle. Black patina lustrous by use. High on a base: 25 cm.
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Delicately made of bronze, a rider figure forms the handle of this wooden comb. Decorated with triangular-patterned friezes, it has six tips. High on a base: 29 cm. The Dogons 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 mali's Mopti region (Bandiagara, Koro, Banka), near Douentza and part of northern Burkina (northwest of Ouahigouya). Villages are often perched atop scree at the hillside, according to a unique architecture. The history of migration and the dogon facilities (about ten main groups, fifteen different languages) relates to several hypotheses. Some historians believe that the Dogons fled an area west of their present location as a ...
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Ex-collection Belgian tribal art. Traditional musical instruments in African art
Strings are absent on this thin wooden sculpture with an anthropomorphic handle, which was a cordophone, known as a bowl-shaped zither. The strings were tied at the holes at each end and stretched along the hollowed out surface of the sounding box. The orbits of the figure at the top are hollow, and round beads were frequently inserted into them.
The Nyamwezi , Nyamézi ,(" the people of the west " and sometimes " the people of the moon ") form the largest group among the tribes living in north-central Tanzania. Coming from diverse origins, although sharing the same cultural specificities, their ritual and artistic production presents consequently very different formal aspects. The cult of ancestors ...
View details Cordophone Nyamwezi
The carved handle of the sword depicts a forefather singiti whose features appear very finely engraved. The faces are bordered by a frontal diadem and a tenuous beard collar in slight relief. The singiti refer to local chiefs, founders of royal lineages, or warlords. T he sword is engraved with discreet decorative motifs. Very beautiful object with a glossy black-brown patina, kaolin residues.
Base on request in addition.
The Hemba, established in southeastern Zaire, on the right bank of the Lualaba, were for a long time subject to the neighboring Luba Empire, which had a definite influence on their culture, religion and art. Ancestor worship, whose effigies have long been attributed to the Luba, is central to hemba society. Genealogy is indeed the guarantor of ...
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Cephalomorphic sculpted ax, depicting a warrior's helmet from which springs a blade.
Traditional patterns, linear and geometric, are engraved on the surface.
Marks of use and abrasions.
Upper Volta, Burkina Faso since independence, is made up of the descendants of the invaders, riders from Ghana in the 15th century, named Nakomse , and Tengabibisi , descendants of the natives. Political power is in the hands of the Nakomsé, who assert their power through statues, while priests and religious leaders come from the Tengabisi, who use masks during their ceremonies. Animists, the Mossi worship a creator god named Wendé . Each individual would be endowed with a soul, sigha , linked to a totemic animal.
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In African tribal art, throwing weapons and parade weapons were primitive currencies dedicated to commercial and social exchanges.
These objects in similar forms are found among the Gobu, the Mbugu, the Banda. According to the ethnic group the names vary: Bo, Nguindza or Guindza gbo as among the Banda.
Their shape places them in the category of "parade axes". Some more compact shapes also served as throwing knives.
The older ones will be made from a fairly light forged metal with a bare handle. The shapes and size vary from place to place. This specimen has a handle entirely sheathed in copper wire, and the blade has discreet incisions and decorative hatching associated with human scarifications. The patina is grainy and velvety.
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A prestigious object, this fly swatter features a finely chiseled "yiteke" miniature acting as a talisman. The figure is extended by a handle on which a cord is tied, attaching the horsehair and the fur constituting the whip.
Glossy brown patina.
Hierarchical and authoritarian, made up of formidable warriors, Yaka society was governed by lineage leaders with the right to life and death over their subjects. Hunting and the prestige that results from it are the occasion nowadays, for the Yaka, to invoke the ancestors and to resort to rituals using charms. The society of initiation of young people is the n-khanda, found among the eastern Kongo (Chokwe, Luba, etc.), and which uses various charms and masks in order to ensure a vigorous lineage. The artistic productions of the ...
View details Yaka Fly swatter
These sculptures bankishi (sing. nkishi ) were used within the framework of the bugabo , a society dedicated to hunting, healing and war. A male figure referring to the ancestors springs from a calabash around which is wrapped a cord accessorized with feathers and dried fruit. The object rattles when shaken. Dark patina.
Height with base: 27 cm.
The Hemba have long been subject to the neighboring Luba empire, which has had a certain influence on their culture, their religion and their art. Ancestor worship is central to Hemba society.
Mastering sculpture with talent, the Hemba have mainly produced statues of singiti ancestors, embodying chiefs, local warriors, or lineage ancestors whom they venerate in order to appease the spirits mizimus . A wide variety of ...
View details Hemba Calabash
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Jan Putteneers African Art Collection. Usual object but also ceremonial, he accompanied the Chokwe who wore it as a pendant, which helped polish their surface. The sculpted head could represent a head wearing the crown chipangula. Two small side holes have been fitted out for sound. Played together, whistles, produced in large numbers, were used both during dances and hunting to call dogs but also to war. Thanks to the few sounds they made, information was exchanged from one place to another. The Chokwé have become known in the Western world for their works of art, which are highly appreciated in the general context of African art. The sculpted face of the founding hero Tshibinda Ilunga is recognized on this piece. This central character has a very special ...
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Container formed from the dried fruit of the calabash tree, on which a carved wooden stopper has been fitted.
The head is encrusted with pearls representing the eyes, and oversized ears frame the pulled back hairstyle.
Braided raffia strap.
The Luo, Kuria, Haya and Ziba, the Kéréwé, Karagwé, Sukuma and Nyamézi are established in the center west and the central region of Tanzania. The Nyamwezi, Nyamézi,("western people" and sometimes "moon people ") form the largest group among the tribes living in north central Tanzania. Coming from diverse origins, although sharing the same cultural specificities, their ritual and artistic production consequently presents very different formal aspects. The cult of ancestors and chiefs, of major importance within their culture, marked their ...
View details Nyamezi Calabash
Aimed at the orisa (Yoruba god) Osanyin associated with herbal therapy, this stick was intended for the soothsayer or healer. Welded to a central pole that was planted in earth, two stems support a circular platform with a stage. It consists of patterns of birds, symbolizing divination, and bells cut out of metal sheets. The summit figure depicts a bird with outstretched wings, trimmed with pendeloques, which, laid flat, forms like a small protective parasol, like a bulwark against the evil powers. Shed the Yoruba of the Nigeri , these type of sticks were emblems featuring birds. Aimed at the soothsayers, they were used for divination ceremonies related to the god of herbalists and occult sciences, Osanyin supposedly working in concert with that of divination, Orunmila. These is in ...
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The Noupés, Nupe, or Nuppé, live in the rich alluvial valleys in central Nigeria, at the confluence of the Niger and Kaduna.
They were defeated in 1860 by the Muslim Fulani. The Nuppé communities are made up of artisans working the same material. The wood carvers also make furniture whose ornamentation is inspired by traditional Fulani art.
This box-shaped sculpture with curved sides and whose handle takes the shape of a hornbill beak is a pestle. A similar copy is presented on page 266 of the book "Arts of Nigeria in French private collections" published by 5Continents.
Very beautiful glossy patina, small accidents, abrasions.
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Supports of the ritualist named babalawo (or Babalao, or Babaaláwo, pronounced Baba-a-láwo), priest of Ifa, in the Yoruba language, these trays are most often made of wood. This beaded example is rarer. It is intended for Ifa, a system of divination which represents the teachings of the orisha Orunmila, orisha of Wisdom. The babalawo claim to secure the future through their communication with Orunmila. In Yoruba thought in Nigeria and in those of Benin, the orishas form a variety of divine spirits controlling natural forces. They are found mainly in the Yoruba cosmogony but more widely in West Africa and in the diasporas of Central and South America.
The center of the board, aarin opon, forms a chart in which kaolin powder (or flour) allows the diviner-priest to trace the solutions to his ...
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Support of the ritualist named babalawo (or Babalao, or Babaal-wo, pronounced Baba-a-l'wo), priest of Ifa, in the Yoruba language, these trays exist in three forms. They are intended for ifa, a system of divination that represents the teachings of the orisha Orunmila, orisha of Wisdom. The babalawo claim to be securing the future through their communication with Orunmila. In Yoruba thought in Nigeria, orishas form a variety of divine spirits controlling natural forces. They are found mainly in Yoruba cosmogony but more widely in East West Africa in the diasporas of Central and South America. This tablet was used in Abomey, among the Yorubas of Benin.The center of the plateau, aarin opon , forms a picture in which the dust of wood allows the priest-soothsayer to trace the solutions to his ...
View details Yoruba Tablet
On the border of India and Myanmar (Burma, or Union of Burma in English) the Nagas use these machetes called dao worn in wide belts. The belt forms a solid frame made of braided vegetable fibers, extended by the rectangular and flat wooden case. The blade is held in its sheath by a braided wicker cord, stretched on either side of the wooden element.
The dao is used for war purposes, but also for agricultural work and for everyday activities.
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This game of the awalé type from the mancala family has a hollow deck of twenty-four cells, arranged in four rows. Stones, seeds, pebbles or even shells formed the pawns. The feet are formed of figurative motifs and sculpted subjects frame the whole.
Black brown patina, cracks.
Among the Mangbetu, from an early age, children also suffered compression of the cranial box held tight by raffia ties. Later, young women "knit" their hair on wicker strands and apply a headband to the forehead in order to bring out the hair and constitute this particular headdress which accentuates the elongation of the head.
Established in the forest in the northeast of Zaire, the Mangbetu kingdom produced architectural works that impressed European visitors in the 19th century. Their furniture, weapons, ...
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The ritual consumption of palm wine from an individual cup, Kopa, Koopha, was the prerogative of the lineage head or matrilineal supreme head during certain ceremonies, such as a marriage. It was then passed on to the next generation.
This yaka-type dish, which included regalia, prestigious objects symbolizing status and reserved for the chieftaincy, offers symbols carved in high relief. Similar models named koopha were used by the Yaka ( Fig.6 p.17 in "Yaka" ed. 5Continents. )
Glossy mahogany patina.
The Suku and Yaka ethnic groups, established in a region between the Kwango and Kwilu rivers, in the south of the Democratic Republic of Congo, recognize common origins and have certain similar social structures and cultural practices. The presence of Holo and Kongo among them in ...
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Within the very refined figurative sculpture of the Kuba groups, the prestigious objects held by members of the royal family and the Bushoong and Dengese, are always decorated with traditional motifs. Similar motifs also adorn the diviner's accessories, such as this divination instrument without its pusher. These tools, used to solve various problems, take up animal motifs associated with ngesh (spirits of nature) but also human motifs referring to ancestors and masks, as is the case here. Beautiful satin mahogany brown patina.
Height on base: 38 cm.
The Kuba kingdom or "lightning people" was founded in the 16th century by the main tribe Bushoong which is still ruled today by a king, and whose capital was Nshyeeng or Mushenge.
The Lele are established in the west of the Kuba ...
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"Mboko cup-bearing" statues frame this game of the awalé type from the mancala family. The apron is hollowed out with twenty-four cells, laid out in four rows. Stones, seeds, pebbles or even shells formed the pawns.
Matte light brown patina, abrasions and slight chips.
View details Awale Luba
Among the Nyangatom or "yellow guns" and the Toposa of the Omo Valley, women wore this type of triangle "hide-sex" apron called akwalac . Depending on the case, this garment-adornment which was adapted to the morphology of each one is made of animal skin and pearls of ostrich egg shells such as the model presented, the akwala na akirim, reserved for married women and paid for with small livestock. Some models feature metal beads, others in glass or plastic, and sometimes simultaneously.
Ref. : " Omo Peoples and Design" G. Verswijver, H.Silvester. Ed. de la Martinière, p. 47.
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Among Kongo chiefs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the crucifix stood as a symbol of power and authority among chieftaincy regalia. A ceremony at the investiture of the chief required that the future ruler receive from the hands of a dignitary, in a codified ritual, a nkangi kiditu . This badge of power, inspired by ancient Christian crucifixes imported by the Portuguese in the sixteenth century, could also have a therapeutic function, and, in addition to various uses, was brandished at funeral ceremonies during which the object was subjected to libations of oil or palm wine.
The cross would not be a motif specific to the Christian world, as the Kongo considered the four branches to ...
View details Kongo crucifix