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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1108

Carved Tsonga Bowl attributed to Muhlati

Tsonga, Mozambique
late 19th century

height: 38cm, width: 18cm

Provenance

UK art market.

9369

Rare Swahili Coast Silver & Gold Pendant & Necklace

Lamu, (Kenya), Swahili Coast, East Africa
19th century

width of pendant: 13cm, weight: 145g

Provenance

UK art market

9403

Fine Pair of Ibeji Siblings (Ere Ibeji)

Yoruba People, Oyo Region, Nigeria
19th century

height: 30.2cm and 28.9cm, combined weight: 579g

Provenance

UK art market

9407

Yoruba Large, Circular, Carved Wooden Divination Board (Opon Ifa)

Yoruba People, Nigeria
19th-early 20th century

diameter: (uneven) approximately 53cm, weight: 3,196g

Provenance

UK art market

9405

Fine Pair of Ibeji Siblings (Ere Ibeji)

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

height: 30cm and 26.8cm, combined weight: 562g

Provenance

UK art market

9227

Mandingo Leather-Clad Man’s Hat

Mandingo or Mandinka people, West Africa, including Sierra Leone or Liberia
20th century

height: approximately 22cm, diameter: approximately 32cm, weight: 421g

Provenance

UK art market

9376

Rare Dogon Brass Talismanic Pendant Showing Five Ancestor Figures

Burkina Faso or Mali
circa 19th century

height: 7.3cm, width: 10.8cm, weight: 153g

Provenance

UK art market

9374

African Dogon Cast Brass Pendant of a Seated, Bound Female Slave

Dogon People, Mali
19th century or earlier

height: 6.7cm, weight: 134g

Provenance

UK art market

9377

Fine & Rare African Senufo Brass Ancestor Pendant

Senufo or Dan People, Ivory Coast or Liberia
circa 1930

width: 13.5cm, height: 6.2cm, weight: 198g

Provenance

UK art market

9293

Fine Baule Cast Brass Necklace

Baule People, Ivory Coast
early 20th century

circumference: approximately 81cm, weight: 184g

Provenance

private collection, US

6132

Luo Beadwork & Warthog Tusk Hat (Ogut Tigo)

Luo People, Kenya & Tanzania
circa 1910

length: 29cm, width: 23cm, height: 9.5cm

Provenance

UK art market

4805

Yoruba Pair of Ibeji Twin Figures

Yoruba People, Awori sub-group, Ado Odo Region, Nigeria
19th-early 20th century

height: 24.3cm, width: 8.2cm, depth: 8.1cm, combined weight: 473g

Provenance

private collection, UK; Adam Prout, UK.

9283

Ibibio Carved Wooden Female Puppet Figure

Ibibio people, coastal Southern Nigeria
circa 1920

height: 56cm

Provenance

UK art market

9190

Ibibio Carved Wooden Soldier Puppet Figure

Ibibio people, coastal Southern Nigeria
circa 1920

height: 55cm

Provenance

UK art market; Christie's Paris, 2006.

6653

Pair of Yoruba Bronze Ogboni Initiate’s Eden Staves

Yoruba People, Nigeria
19th century

height (with stand): 24.3cm, weight (with stand): 684g

Provenance

UK art market

9079

Mongo Currency Anklet

Mongo People, central Congo
19th-early 20th century

width: approximately 14.2cm, height: 11.7cm, weight: 4,038g

Provenance

UK art market

8905

Ashanti Chief’s Brass-Covered Asipim Chair

Ashanti (Asante) People, Ghana
19th century

width: 50.2cm, height: 93.4cm, depth (seat only, excluding the inclining back-rest): 47cm

Provenance

UK art market

2218

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

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.

8946

Bamileke Resist-Dyed Ndop Textile

Bamileke People, Cameroon
early 20th century

length: 155cm, width: 97cm

Provenance

UK art market

4230

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

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

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

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

Mauritanian Bead Necklace (Tesbih)

Mauritania & southern Morocco
early 20th century

circumference: 102cm, weight: 169g

Provenance

private collection, Germany

6799

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

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.

6642

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rare Pair of Ibibio Nigerian Carved Wooden Masks

Ibibio People, southern Nigeria
early 20th century

heights: 28cm & 26cm

Provenance

UK art market

5848

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

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

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

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

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

Yoruba Cast Brass Opele Oracle Chain

Yoruba People, Nigeria
19th century

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

Provenance

UK art market

4517

Ovimbundu Carved Wooden Sceptre

Ovimbundu People, Angola
19th century

height: 54cm

Provenance

UK art market

4476

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

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

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

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

Carved Wooden Prestige Sceptre

Ovimbundu People, Angola
19th century

length: 55cm

Provenance

UK art market

5940

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

4824

Congo Woven Rattan Comb

Teke People, Congo
19th century

height: 16.2cm, width: 5.7cm

Provenance

old, private UK collection.

3890

Yoruba Janus-Headed Shango Dancing Wand

Yoruba People, Nigeria
19th century

length: 31.5cm

Provenance

UK art market

3091

Rare Pair of Ijebu-Yoruba Bronze Ceremonial Anklets

Nigeria
18th century

diameter: 19cm

Provenance

private collection, Isle of Wight, UK.

3104

Pair of Yoruba Bronze Ogboni Staves

Yoruba People, Nigeria
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

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

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

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

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

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

Nigerian Carved & Painted Wooden Figurative Comb

Nigeria
late 19th-early 20th century

length: 23cm, width: 8cm

Provenance

UK art market

2938

Local Ashanti King’s Asipim Chair

Ashanti (Asante) People, Ghana
late 19th century

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

Provenance

private collection, UK

4121

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

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

2032

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

Yoruba People, Nigeria
circa 1920

height: 45cm, depth: 27cm

Provenance

UK art market

4046

Rare Cast Brass Necklace

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

length: 69cm, weight: 1,303g

Provenance

UK art market

4279

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

Eshu Dance Wrist Pendant

Yoruba People, Southern Egbado, Nigeria
19th century

height: 10.2cm

Provenance

private collection, London.

4314

Eshu Dance Wrist Pendant

Yoruba People, Southern Egbado, Nigeria
19th century

height: 8cm

Provenance

private collection, London.

3498

Nigerian Yoruba Ibeji Twin Figure (Ere Ibeji)

Yagba Tribe, Egbe Region, Nigeria
late 19th century

height: 25.5cm

Provenance

UK art market

2850

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

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

Fine Zulu (or similar) Knobkerrie Dance Club

Zulu People or similar, Southern Africa
19th century

length: 43.5cm

Provenance

UK art market

2421

Yoruba Maternity Figural Offering Bowl

Yoruba People, Nigeria
before 1938-39

height: 64cm

Provenance

Collected by the artist Donald Friend in Nigeria, 1938

1897

Kuba Carved Wooden ‘Basket’ Camwood Powder Bowl & Cover

Kuba People, Congo
19th century

height: 5.5cm, diameter: 17cm

Provenance

UK art market

1898

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

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

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

Brass Bird-shaped Pipe

Cameroon
early 20th century

length: 48cm

2204

Yoruba Ibeji Figure (Ere Ibeji)

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

height: 29cm

Provenance

UK art market.

3000

Congo Chief’s Axe-Knife

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

length: 39cm, width: 22.5cm

Provenance

UK art market

3994

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

Nubian 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

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

Three Solid Copper Mossi African Hairpins

Mossi People, Burkina Faso
19th century

7.5-9cm

Provenance

Private collection, London.

5560

Rectangular Yoruba Divination Board (Opon Ifa)

Yoruba People, Nigeria
19th-early 20th century

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

Provenance

UK art market