Yoruba Staff

Africa | Nigeria

Yoruba Staff

Nigeria

Yoruba Dance Staff

Carved wood
Early 20th century
Height: 17 ¾ in. (45 cm)

Ex collection Jacques Kerchache, Paris

Yoruba staff ex coll Kerchache 45 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
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Ashanti Head

Africa | Ghana

Ashanti Head

Ghana

Terracotta
18th or 19th century
Height: 10 ¾ in. (27 cm)

Ashanti Head 27 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
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Baule Mask

Archives | Ivory Coast

Baule Mask

Ivory Coast

Monkey Mask

Carved wood
Late 19th century
Height: 11½ in. (30cm)

Exhibited:
Ateliers à la loupe, from Monet to Ai WeiWei
Musée en Herbe, Paris
January 25th – September 9th, 2018

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Mossi Doll

Africa | Burkina Faso

Mossi Doll

Burkina Faso

Biga fertility dol

Carved wood
Early 20th century
Height: 10 ½ in. (27 cm)

Biga Fertility Doll, Mossi 27 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
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Mumuye Figure

Africa | Nigeria

Mumuye Figure

Nigeria

Iagalagana figure

Carved wood and pigments
Early 20th century
Height: 28 ¾ in. (73 cm)

Ex collection Alain Javelaud, Fontenay-sous-Bois

Published: Mumuye, 2006
Figure Mumuye 73 cm ex A Javelaud / Galerie Flak Price on request
The Mumuye live in the foothills of the Shebshi Mountains near the banks of the Benue in eastern Nigeria. This agrarian people is comprised of three different dialectal groups, and was long unknown to Westerners, who discovered their art only in the late 1960s.
The Mumuye used sculptures called Iagalagana in different rituals: the figures played a central role in ancestor worship and in curing ceremonies. They served as intercessors between the spirit world and that of men, and served as proof of the high status of the family that owned them.
This large figure is characterized by its remarkable dynamism, reinforced by the angular breaks in the rhythm of the piece that are so characteristic of Mumuye art. Facial features are intensely expressive. The composition of the figure illustrate how Mumuye statuary constantly reinvents its treatment of the human body.
“[…] everything [is] anatomically wrong. But it works. It’s visually successful and is a complete piece because abstraction dominates over anatomy.” Nancy Graves (in Perpectives: Angles on African Art, 1987, p. 100)

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Bamana Mask

Africa | Mali

Bamana Mask

Mali

Sukuru mask from Kore Society mask

Carved wood
Early 20th century
Height : 22 in. (56 cm)

Bamana Mask 56 cm / Galerie Flak Price on request
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Bobo or Tiefo
Figure

Africa | Burkina Faso

Bobo or Tiefo
Figure

Burkina Faso

Carved wood
Early 20th century or earlier
Height: 18 in. (46 cm)

Ex Sotheby’s Paris, 8 Juin 2007 lot 44

Yale University Art African Art – GvR Archive 0079331

Published: Africubism, 2018
Bobo Tiefo Female Figure / Galerie Flak Price on request
This female figure is an exceptionally expressive and powerful example of ancient Burkina Faso art.
The figure honors a woman whose great age, wisdom, and experience elevated her to the rank of a living, an ideal intermediary between the living and the spirits of the family's ancestors.
Although this figure was long thought to be Mossi or Bobo Fing, recent studies would rather point to a Bobo or Tiéfo (Tchifo) origin.
As early as the beginning of the 20th century, such authors/ethnographers as Ruelle (1904), Tauxier (1917) and Frobenius (1926) started mentioning Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) statuary; but it was not until the 1960s that the meaning of such sculpture was understood. According to Roy ("Art of the Upper Volta Rivers", 1987), the main role of these statues is to affirm the authority of the chief (naba). They personify him either at his funeral - and they are in that case ephemeral - or in the context of the annual sacrifices offered to ancestors - male or female - and are then kept for the rest of the year inside the kimse roogo, the hut of the chief's oldest wife. Their very occasional use and conservation in a place protected from view explain why these statues are so rare, each one having its own distinctive style.
According to Roy, "an artist sometimes only sculpts one or two statues of a chief in his lifetime; and he can only work for one or two chiefs in the region. Thus, the statues kept by a chief are frequently the result of work carried out by several sculptors over several generations of chiefs of the same clan."

This rare female figure conveys an intense sense of sacrality and strength.

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Chief’s Head

Archives | Nigeria

Chief’s Head

Nigeria

Commemorative chief’s head
Kingdom of Benin

Carved wood
19th century or earlier
Height: 23 ½ in. (60 cm)

Ex Tajan auction sale 6 October 1997, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, lot 120
Ex private collection, Switzerland
Ex collection Antonio & Ana Casanovas, Arte y Ritual, Madrid.

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