Our catalogue > Tribal Art – Africa

African tribal art is among the most faked of all arts. The vast majority of what is on the market has little historical value or merit for the serious collector. The pieces shown here, all of which are for sale, have been carefully selected for their artistic merit, their patina and their provenance.

Each piece has been sourced from within the UK, often from old, colonial-era collections. We do not buy from Africa or from those with recent connections to Africa. This is very important.

For this reason, we tend to have many Yoruba pieces because the UK colonised Nigeria and so the UK today is an excellent place to source genuine, old Yoruba art.

‘Tribal’ items sold by us are represented in important public collections, including the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, & the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris.

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2218

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    Rare Yoruba Carved Wooden Processional Staff

    Yoruba People, Nigeria
    19th-early 20th century

    length: 108cm

    Provenance

    private collection, London; and previously, a private European collection.

    6890

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      Ashanti Carved Wooden Comb (Duafe)

      Akan-Ashanti People, Ghana
      late 19th century-early 20th century

      length: 34.1cm, width: 11.9cm, depth: 1.2cm, weight: 227g

      Provenance

      private collection, London.

      7169

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        Ovimbundu Colonial Portuguese Female Head Privilege Sceptre or Staff

        Ovimbundu People, Benguela, Angola
        19th century

        length: 82.5cmm, width: 8.5cm, weight: 941g

        Provenance

        private collection, UK

        6911

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          Wobe or We (Ngere) Wooden Face Mask

          Wobe or We (Ngere) People, Ivory Coast
          early 20th century

          height: approximately 27.5cm, width: 20.5cm, depth: 18.5cm, weight: 1,700g

          Provenance

          private estate collection, UK.

          4230

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            Carved Steatite Female Nomoli Figure

            Sierra Leone
            15th century or earlier

            height: 21cm, width: 8.5cm, weight: 1,645g

            Provenance

            Estate Collection of Seward Kennedy, London, UK.

            6811

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              Unusual Ashanti Carved Wooden Articulated Comb (Duafe)

              Akan-Ashanti People, Ghana
              late 19th century-early 20th century

              height: 34.7cm, width: 12cm, weight: 192g

              Provenance

              private collection, London.

              6524

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                Mongo Woman’s Woven Buttock Shield (Bakonga)

                Mongo People, Congo
                early 20th century

                length: approximately 88cm, width: 8.3cm, weight: 157g

                Provenance

                private collection, London, UK.

                7180

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                  Unusual Zulu Wirework Gourd Dance Rattle

                  Zulu People, Southern Africa
                  early 20th century

                  width of gourd: 8cm, length (including handle): 29cm, weight: 60g

                  Provenance

                  UK art market

                  7132

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                    Mauritanian Bead Necklace (Tesbih)

                    Mauritania & southern Morocco
                    early 20th century

                    circumference: 102cm, weight: 169g

                    Provenance

                    private collection, Germany

                    6799

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                      Pair of Nigerian Cast & Engraved Bronze Bangles

                      Lower Niger River, Nigeria
                      early 20th century

                      external diameter (widest): 9.9 to 10.1cm, internal diameter: 5.4 to 5.9cm, combined weight: 1,330g

                      Provenance

                      UK art market

                      5688

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                        Tuareg Wooden Storage Post (Bela)

                        Tuareg People, Mali, Niger or Algeria
                        early 20th century

                        height (including stand): 148cm, width: 51.5cm

                        Provenance

                        private collection, UK.

                        6960

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                          Fine Pair of Oyo Yoruba Ibeji Twins

                          Yoruba People, Oyo, Igbuke Region, Nigeria
                          late 19th century-early 20th century

                          height: approximately 27.1cm, combined weight: 563g

                          Provenance

                          UK art market

                          6635

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                            Fine Tsonga Headrest

                            Tsonga People, South Africa & Zimbabwe
                            19th-early 20th century

                            height: 10.8cm, width: 18.5cm, weight: 229g

                            Provenance

                            UK art market

                            6642

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                              Superb Nigerian Ibibio Carved Wooden Mask

                              Ibibio People, Cross River & adjacent regions, Nigeria
                              19th-early 20th century

                              height: 31cm, width: 29cm, depth: 19cm, weight: 1,104g

                              Provenance

                              UK art market

                              6650

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                                Sudan Bongo Carved Wooden Stool or Headrest

                                Bongo People, South Sudan
                                19th-early 20th century

                                width: 23.2cm, height: 11.6cm, depth:12.1cm, weight: 535g

                                Provenance

                                UK art market

                                6523

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                                  Mongo Woman’s Beaded & Woven Buttock Shield (Bakonga)

                                  Mongo People, Congo
                                  early 20th century

                                  length: approximately 98cm, width of pompom: 12cm, weight: 292g

                                  Provenance

                                  private collection, London, UK.

                                  6492

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                                    Very Rare & Early Yoruba Shango Priest’s Costume with Leather & Mirrors

                                    Yoruba People, Nigeria
                                    circa 1850

                                    length: 96.5cm, width: 54.5cm (approximately)

                                    Provenance

                                    found in the attic of a house in northern England where it is believed to have been stored undisturbed since at least the 1930s.

                                    6493

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                                      Rare & Early Yoruba Shango Shrine Leather Bag (Laba)

                                      Yoruba People, Nigeria
                                      circa 1850

                                      width: 49.5cm

                                      Provenance

                                      found in the attic of a house in northern England where it is believed to have been stored undisturbed since at least the 1930s.

                                      6490

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                                        Fang Gilded Bronze Torque

                                        Fang People, Gabon/Cameroon
                                        circa 19th century

                                        diameter: at widest point: 19cm, thickness: 3.8cm, weight: 2,217g

                                        Provenance

                                        private collection, London.

                                        6103

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                                          Rare Pair of Ibibio Nigerian Carved Wooden Masks

                                          Ibibio People, southern Nigeria
                                          early 20th century

                                          heights: 28cm & 26cm

                                          Provenance

                                          UK art market

                                          5848

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                                            Rare Toma Mask with Articulated Jaw (Landai)

                                            Toma People, Liberia & Guinea
                                            19th-early 20th century

                                            height: 43cm, width: 15.4cm, depth: 14cm

                                            Provenance

                                            private collection, Scotland

                                            6436

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                                              Fine, Nigerian Yoruba Gelede Dance Headdress

                                              Yoruba People, Nigeria
                                              circa 1920

                                              height: 46cm, length: 27cm, width: 31cm, weight: 1,765g

                                              Provenance

                                              formerly in the collection of the late Dr James Bynon, lecturer in Berber studies, School of Oriental & African Studies, University College London.

                                              4806

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                                                Unusual Yoruba Ibeji Figure (Ere Ibeji)

                                                Yagba Tribe, Egbe Region, Nigeria
                                                late 19th century

                                                height: 23.5cm; weight: 398g

                                                Provenance

                                                Volta Place Gallery, Washington DC; Pendarell (Pen) Kent Collection.

                                                5722

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                                                  Zulu Wooden Ear Plugs with Bakelite Tile Decoration

                                                  Zulu People, South Africa
                                                  circa 1940

                                                  diameter (each): 6.5cm, combined weight: 61g

                                                  Provenance

                                                  private collection, UK.

                                                  4326

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                                                    Carved Wooden Dog Fetish Figure (Koso)

                                                    Vili People, Republic of Congo
                                                    early 20th century

                                                    length: 24cm; width: 7cm and height: 8cm

                                                    Provenance

                                                    Estate of the London collector, Seward Kennedy, London

                                                    4474

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                                                      Yoruba Cast Brass Opele Oracle Chain

                                                      Yoruba People, Nigeria
                                                      19th century

                                                      circumference: approx.: 96cm, weight: 178g

                                                      Provenance

                                                      UK art market

                                                      4517

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                                                        Ovimbundu Carved Wooden Sceptre

                                                        Ovimbundu People, Angola
                                                        19th century

                                                        height: 54cm

                                                        Provenance

                                                        UK art market

                                                        4476

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                                                          Early, Ashanti Gold Weight Modelled on a Bifurcated Knife (Afenata)

                                                          Ashanti People, Ghana
                                                          17th century

                                                          length: 12.3cm, width: 8.2cm, weight: 107g

                                                          Provenance

                                                          private collection, London.

                                                          5724

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                                                            Zulu Wooden Ear Plugs with Bakelite Tile Decoration

                                                            Zulu People, South Africa
                                                            circa 1940

                                                            diameters: 5.5cm, thickness: 0.8cm

                                                            Provenance

                                                            private collection, UK

                                                            4624

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                                                              Cast Brass Senufo Ring

                                                              Senufo People, Ivory Coast
                                                              19th or early 20th century

                                                              weight: 19.6g, ring size: 10.75 (US), V/V (UK)

                                                              Provenance

                                                              UK art market

                                                              4462

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                                                                Nine Copper ‘X’ Currency Crosses

                                                                Luba & Yeke People, Katanga Province, Congo
                                                                19th century

                                                                typical diameter of a cross: 22.5cm Note: Each of these has a custom-made stand - each can be sold separately, or as part of a group.

                                                                Provenance

                                                                private collection, UK

                                                                4516

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                                                                  Carved Wooden Prestige Sceptre

                                                                  Ovimbundu People, Angola
                                                                  19th century

                                                                  length: 55cm

                                                                  Provenance

                                                                  UK art market

                                                                  5940

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                                                                    Exceptional Pair of Igbo Man’s Cast Brass Wrist Guards or Cuff Bracelets

                                                                    Igbo People, South-central and South-eastern Nigeria
                                                                    probably 19th century

                                                                    heights: 17cm, diameters: 10.7cm, combined weights: 1,150g

                                                                    Provenance

                                                                    UK art market

                                                                    4267

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                                                                      Woman’s Wooden Lip Plate

                                                                      Kichepo People, Sudan, & Surma People, Sudan/Ethiopia
                                                                      19th-early 20th century

                                                                      width: 13.3cm, length: 9.6cm, thickness: 1.6cm

                                                                      Provenance

                                                                      private London collection.

                                                                      4225

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                                                                        Congo Cast-Brass Hairpins

                                                                        Congo, probably Kuba people.
                                                                        19th-20th century

                                                                        21cm & 16.8cm

                                                                        Provenance

                                                                        Private collection, London.

                                                                        4824

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                                                                          Woven Rattan Congo Comb

                                                                          Teke People, Congo
                                                                          19th century

                                                                          height: 16.2cm, width: 5.7cm

                                                                          Provenance

                                                                          old, private UK collection.

                                                                          3890

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                                                                            Yoruba Janus-Headed Shango Dancing Wand

                                                                            Yoruba People, Nigeria
                                                                            19th century

                                                                            length: 31.5cm

                                                                            Provenance

                                                                            UK art market

                                                                            3091

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                                                                              Rare Pair of Ijebu-Yoruba Bronze Ceremonial Anklets

                                                                              Nigeria
                                                                              18th century

                                                                              diameter: 19cm

                                                                              Provenance

                                                                              private collection, Isle of Wight, UK.

                                                                              3104

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                                                                                Pair of Yoruba Bronze Ogboni Staves

                                                                                Yoruba People, Nigeria
                                                                                early 19th century

                                                                                heights: 22cm, combined wight: 881g

                                                                                Provenance

                                                                                acquired from the estate of Dr Peter Sharratt (d. 2014). Sharratt was a linguist and lecturer in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh who published on Renaissance French sculpture. In his private life, he was an avid collector of tribal art, building up his collection over fifty years. During that time, he bought from UK dealers, collectors and auction houses.

                                                                                3115

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                                                                                  Fine, Carved Wooden Baule Catapult

                                                                                  Baule People, Ivory Coast
                                                                                  probably 19th century

                                                                                  height (not including stand): 16cm, width: 6.5cm

                                                                                  Provenance

                                                                                  acquired from the estate of Dr Peter Sharratt (d. 2014). Sharratt was a linguist and lecturer in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh who published on Renaissance French sculpture. In his private life, he was an avid collector of tribal art, building up his collection over fifty years. During that time, he bought from UK dealers, collectors and auction houses.

                                                                                  3107

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                                                                                    Yoruba Eshu Dance Wand

                                                                                    Yoruba People, Egba Tribe, Abeokuta, Nigeria
                                                                                    late 19th century

                                                                                    height: approximately 25cm, width: approximately 6cm

                                                                                    Provenance

                                                                                    acquired from the estate of Dr Peter Sharratt (d. 2014). Sharratt was a linguist and lecturer in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh who published on Renaissance French sculpture. In his private life, he was an avid collector of tribal art, building up his collection over fifty years. During that time, he bought from UK dealers, collectors and auction houses.

                                                                                    3895

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                                                                                      Ashanti Carved Wooden Fertility Doll (Akuaba)

                                                                                      Ashanti/Asante People, Ghana
                                                                                      19th century

                                                                                      height: 27.3cm, width: 11.5cm

                                                                                      Provenance

                                                                                      UK art market; the base with an old label for 'Ratton, Paris'.

                                                                                      3108

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                                                                                        Yoruba Shango Oshe Dance Wand

                                                                                        Yoruba People, Egbado Tribe, Igan Okoto, Nigeria
                                                                                        circa 1900

                                                                                        length: approximately 25cm, width: approximately 6cm

                                                                                        Provenance

                                                                                        acquired from the estate of Dr Peter Sharratt (d. 2014). Sharratt was a linguist and lecturer in the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures at the University of Edinburgh who published on Renaissance French sculpture. In his private life, he was an avid collector of tribal art, building up his collection over fifty years. During that time, he bought from UK dealers, collectors and auction houses.

                                                                                        3119

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                                                                                          Pair of Yoruba Ceremonial Ogboni Staffs

                                                                                          Yoruba People, Ogboni Society, Nigeria
                                                                                          early to mid-20th century

                                                                                          height: approximately (female) 44cm, (male) 45cm

                                                                                          Provenance

                                                                                          UK art market

                                                                                          3894

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                                                                                            Nigerian Carved & Painted Wooden Figurative Comb

                                                                                            Nigeria
                                                                                            late 19th-early 20th century

                                                                                            length: 23cm, width: 8cm

                                                                                            Provenance

                                                                                            UK art market

                                                                                            2938

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                                                                                              Local Ashanti King’s Asipim Chair

                                                                                              Ashanti (Asante) People, Ghana
                                                                                              late 19th century

                                                                                              height: 72cm, depth: 44cm, width: 40cm

                                                                                              Provenance

                                                                                              private collection, UK

                                                                                              4121

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                                                                                                Carved Wooden Axe Handle or Sceptre Shaped as an Antelope

                                                                                                Tsonga or Zulu, South Africa or Zambia/Zaire
                                                                                                19th century

                                                                                                length: 52.5cm

                                                                                                Provenance

                                                                                                UK art market

                                                                                                2863

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                                                                                                  Fine Yoruba Male Ibeji Figure (Ere Ibeji)

                                                                                                  Oyo-Yoruba People, Oyo Region, Nigeria
                                                                                                  late 19th century

                                                                                                  height: 32cm, diameter of the base: approximately 8cm

                                                                                                  Provenance

                                                                                                  UK art market

                                                                                                  3733

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                                                                                                    Ovimbundu Female Head Privilege Sceptre

                                                                                                    Ovimbundu People, Angola
                                                                                                    circa 1930

                                                                                                    length: 56cm

                                                                                                    Provenance

                                                                                                    UK art market

                                                                                                    2032

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                                                                                                      Yoruba Carved Wooden Maternity Figure & Bowl, possibly by the carver Agbonbiofe

                                                                                                      Yoruba People, Nigeria
                                                                                                      circa 1920

                                                                                                      height: 45cm, depth: 27cm

                                                                                                      Provenance

                                                                                                      UK art market

                                                                                                      4222

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                                                                                                        Cast Bronze Hairpin of a Horse & Rider

                                                                                                        Dogon People, Mali
                                                                                                        19th century

                                                                                                        length: 19.5cm

                                                                                                        Provenance

                                                                                                        UK art market

                                                                                                        4046

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                                                                                                          Rare Cast Brass Necklace

                                                                                                          Vere People, North-Eastern Nigeria & Cameroon
                                                                                                          19th century

                                                                                                          length: 69cm, weight: 1,303g

                                                                                                          Provenance

                                                                                                          UK art market

                                                                                                          4279

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                                                                                                            Chief’s Bronze ‘Tiered’ Anklet with Bells

                                                                                                            Gio or Dan & Wee People, Liberia & Cote d’Ivoire
                                                                                                            19th century

                                                                                                            outside diameter: 11.5cm, inside diameter: 7.5cm x 8.5cm, height: 4.3cm, weight: 517g

                                                                                                            Provenance

                                                                                                            UK art market

                                                                                                            4313

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                                                                                                              Eshu Dance Wrist Pendant

                                                                                                              Yoruba People, Southern Egbado, Nigeria
                                                                                                              19th century

                                                                                                              height: 10.2cm

                                                                                                              Provenance

                                                                                                              private collection, London.

                                                                                                              4314

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                                                                                                                Eshu Dance Wrist Pendant

                                                                                                                Yoruba People, Southern Egbado, Nigeria
                                                                                                                19th century

                                                                                                                height: 8cm

                                                                                                                Provenance

                                                                                                                private collection, London.

                                                                                                                3498

                                                                                                                Enquiry about object: 3498

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                                                                                                                  Nigerian Yoruba Ibeji Twin Figure (Ere Ibeji)

                                                                                                                  Yagba Tribe, Egbe Region, Nigeria
                                                                                                                  late 19th century

                                                                                                                  height: 25.5cm

                                                                                                                  Provenance

                                                                                                                  UK art market

                                                                                                                  3497

                                                                                                                  Enquiry about object: 3497

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                                                                                                                    Superb Pair of Ibeji Figures (Ere Ibeji)

                                                                                                                    Yoruba People, Oyo Tribe, Shaki Region, Nigeria
                                                                                                                    late 19th century

                                                                                                                    heights: 24.4cm

                                                                                                                    Provenance

                                                                                                                    UK art market

                                                                                                                    2850

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                                                                                                                      Cast Brass Pendant & Brass Bead Necklace

                                                                                                                      Asante/Ashanti, Ghana, West Africa
                                                                                                                      early 20th century

                                                                                                                      length of pendant: 12.5cm, length of chain: 66cm, weight: 193g

                                                                                                                      Provenance

                                                                                                                      UK art market

                                                                                                                      4047

                                                                                                                      Enquiry about object: 4047

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                                                                                                                        Woman’s Brass & Beaded Headdress & Ear Ornament Set

                                                                                                                        Kikuyu People, Kenya
                                                                                                                        early 20th century

                                                                                                                        diameter of each spiral : 8.8cm; length of headdress: 38cm, total weight: 325g

                                                                                                                        Provenance

                                                                                                                        UK art market

                                                                                                                        3416

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                                                                                                                          Fine Zulu (or similar) Knobkerrie Dance Club

                                                                                                                          Zulu People or similar, Southern Africa
                                                                                                                          19th century

                                                                                                                          length: 43.5cm

                                                                                                                          Provenance

                                                                                                                          UK art market

                                                                                                                          2421

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                                                                                                                            Yoruba Maternity Figural Offering Bowl

                                                                                                                            Yoruba People, Nigeria
                                                                                                                            before 1938-39

                                                                                                                            height: 64cm

                                                                                                                            Provenance

                                                                                                                            Collected by the artist Donald Friend in Nigeria, 1938

                                                                                                                            1108

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                                                                                                                              Carved Tsonga Bowl attributed to Muhlati

                                                                                                                              Tsonga, Mozambique
                                                                                                                              late 19th century

                                                                                                                              height: 38cm, width: 18cm

                                                                                                                              Provenance

                                                                                                                              UK art market.

                                                                                                                              1897

                                                                                                                              Enquiry about object: 1897

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                                                                                                                                Kuba Carved Wooden ‘Basket’ Camwood Powder Bowl & Cover

                                                                                                                                Kuba People, Congo
                                                                                                                                19th century

                                                                                                                                height: 5.5cm, diameter: 17cm

                                                                                                                                Provenance

                                                                                                                                UK art market

                                                                                                                                1898

                                                                                                                                Enquiry about object: 1898

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                                                                                                                                  Carved Wooden Camwood Powder Box

                                                                                                                                  Kuba People, Congo
                                                                                                                                  19th century

                                                                                                                                  length: 23.8cm, height: 6.6cm, width: 9.4cm

                                                                                                                                  Provenance

                                                                                                                                  Obtained by the previous owner at Sotheby's London, 'Tribal Art', December 3, 1984.

                                                                                                                                  846

                                                                                                                                  Enquiry about object: 846

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                                                                                                                                    Bamana Wooden Door Lock (Konbalabala)

                                                                                                                                    Bamana people, Mali
                                                                                                                                    circa 1920

                                                                                                                                    height: 45.5cm, width: 37cm

                                                                                                                                    Provenance

                                                                                                                                    From a private UK collection. Acquired from Christie’s, 'Tribal Art', June 24, 1996, London, lot 67.

                                                                                                                                    944

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                                                                                                                                      Yoruba Gelede Dance Headdress

                                                                                                                                      Yoruba People, Nigeria
                                                                                                                                      circa 1940

                                                                                                                                      height: 34cm, length: 22cm, width: 27cm

                                                                                                                                      Provenance

                                                                                                                                      UK art market, formerly in an Oxford collection.

                                                                                                                                      1481

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                                                                                                                                        Brass Bird-shaped Pipe

                                                                                                                                        Cameroon
                                                                                                                                        early 20th century

                                                                                                                                        length: 48cm

                                                                                                                                        2204

                                                                                                                                        Enquiry about object: 2204

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                                                                                                                                          Yoruba Ibeji Figure (Ere Ibeji)

                                                                                                                                          Yoruba People, Oyo Sub-group, Erin Region, Nigeria
                                                                                                                                          circa 1920

                                                                                                                                          height: 29cm

                                                                                                                                          Provenance

                                                                                                                                          UK art market.

                                                                                                                                          3000

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                                                                                                                                            Congo Chief’s Axe-Knife

                                                                                                                                            Nsapo & Wongo Peoples, Congo
                                                                                                                                            19th-early 20th century

                                                                                                                                            length: 39cm, width: 22.5cm

                                                                                                                                            Provenance

                                                                                                                                            UK art market

                                                                                                                                            3994

                                                                                                                                            Enquiry about object: 3994

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                                                                                                                                              Nigerian Carved Wooden Maternity Figure, Lidded Bowl, possibly by the carver Agbonbiofe

                                                                                                                                              Yoruba People, Nigeria
                                                                                                                                              early 20th century

                                                                                                                                              height: 48.5cm, depth: 22.5cm, width: 33.5cm

                                                                                                                                              Provenance

                                                                                                                                              UK art market, private collection, Germany

                                                                                                                                              3664

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                                                                                                                                                Pair of Engraved Silver Bracelets

                                                                                                                                                Nubian People, North-East Africa
                                                                                                                                                19th-early 20th century

                                                                                                                                                external diameter: 8.6cm, internal diameter: 6.2cm, thickness: 1.2cm, combined weight: 119g

                                                                                                                                                Provenance

                                                                                                                                                private collection, London.

                                                                                                                                                4274

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                                                                                                                                                  Woman’s Iron Pubic Cover (Cache Sexe)

                                                                                                                                                  Kirdi and Matakam People, North Cameroon
                                                                                                                                                  19th-early 20th century

                                                                                                                                                  length: 37.5cm

                                                                                                                                                  Provenance

                                                                                                                                                  private collection, UK

                                                                                                                                                  4196

                                                                                                                                                  Enquiry about object: 4196

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                                                                                                                                                    Three Solid Copper Mossi African Hairpins

                                                                                                                                                    Mossi People, Burkina Faso
                                                                                                                                                    19th century

                                                                                                                                                    7.5-9cm

                                                                                                                                                    Provenance

                                                                                                                                                    Private collection, London.

                                                                                                                                                    5560

                                                                                                                                                    Enquiry about object: 5560

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                                                                                                                                                      Rectangular Yoruba Divination Board (Opon Ifa)

                                                                                                                                                      Yoruba People, Nigeria
                                                                                                                                                      19th-early 20th century

                                                                                                                                                      width: 40cm; length: 27cm and thickness: 2cm

                                                                                                                                                      Provenance

                                                                                                                                                      UK art market

                                                                                                                                                      6991

                                                                                                                                                      Enquiry about object: 6991

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                                                                                                                                                        Maasai Bone Pendant & Braided Leather Necklace

                                                                                                                                                        Maasai People,  Kenya & northern Tanzania
                                                                                                                                                        early 20th century

                                                                                                                                                        length of pendant: 7.7cm, circumference: approximately 35cm, weight: 45g

                                                                                                                                                        Provenance

                                                                                                                                                        UK art market