Blog - African Shields
Posted on 1st Dec 2015
Here at Dafco's Gallery we offer uncompromised quality, authenticity, and great service are our commitment to our valued collectors. Take a look at our Top 5 favorite African Art Masterworks of 2015.
5. A Superb Reliquary Figure, Kota Peoples, Gabon - $1,099
H: 25 inches, W: 13.5 inches
Materials: Wood, Brass
The Kota people, numbering about 78,000 , occupy the eastern part of Gabon, extending into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ancestral worship formed the core of their religious and social life. Reliquary figures of this type are among the sacred objects used by the Kota ethnic group devoted to honoring ancestors in order to obtain their good will. These guardian figures protect the relics that link the living to the dead. The adornment of brass/copper alloy, a material that signifies wealth and prestige; is also associated with daylight, and may have been applied to the figures to strengthen their defenses against intruders of the night, when the forces of evil are thought to be stronger.
4. A Fine Pende Ceremonial Mask - $679
H: 29 inches, W: 10 inches
Materials: wood, paint
The Pende people are of Angola origin; but have since the 18th century lived in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in the Kwango and the Kasai region.They sculpt many objects like staffs and masks such as this one shown here. Unlike most masks that conform to the vertical axis of the human face, this zoomorphic piece is more colorful than the classical Pende works. With a large, long nose, proportionally large ears, by enormous protruding eyes and mouth extended from the head. The entire face of the mask is painted by an incised black, white, and red zigzag lines that separate the lower part from the upper part which is painted solid red and white. The two lines painted red, black, and white is complemented by several Xs in white across the lines, adds drama to this unusual masterpiece; which was danced to entertain foreign dignitaries.
3. Royal Ceremonial Mask - Igbo Peoples, Nigeria - $1895
H: 25 inches, W: 10 inches, D: 10 inches
Materials: Wood, Kaolin ( white clay)
The Igbo occupy the plateaus of southeastern Nigeria, along the Niger River, wih a population of about eleven million. They have a variety of art forms and cultural practices because the people are decentralized in groups. Some of their masks and statues are used and danced by young men during harvest celebrations and ceremonies held annually in honor of the earth spirits. Carved out of a single block of wood, this intricately and rare Igbo mask adorned with a crown, with three animal motifs on top, represents a wealthy royal figure who commands enormous respect in the village. He embodies the ultimate ideals of strenth, wisdom, stature and dignity, and is a leader among his peers. This mask was worn in performances at ceremonies that purify the village, and the community. Kaolin (white clay) is the color of the spirit.
2. Ceremonial Headdress, Kurumba Peoples, Burkina Faso - $2,139.00
H: 66 inches,
Material: Wood, Twine
The Kurumba people live in the north of Burkina Faso. They produce a mask headdress in the form of antelope head, which is naturalistic. The powerful neck supports a head with a pointed protruding snout, extending upwards beyond the sharp ears, in a curve ending with the towering horns. The beautiful-shaped head is colorfully designed in triangles in black, brownish-red, light blue, beige, and the triangles are filled with rows of spots. This magnificent headdress is presumed to represent Yirige, the culture hero, who protects the land at the time of tilling, during planting, and also harvesting. Masqueraders (dancers) wear this massive headdress by fastening to the head with a plaited basket and cloth, to conceal the dancers face during ceremonies. What a masterpiece of work!
A Fine Hehe Ceremonial Shield - $950.00
H: 32 in. W: 15.5 in.
Material: wood, paint
Before the adoption of guns, the most commonly used weapons by the Zulu peoples of South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and other neighboring countries ethnicities were spears, clubs, bows and arrows. Elaborately decorated shields were also produced for ceremonial use, and were mostly owned by chiefs, and community leaders. The decoration of this Hehe shield shown here is very rare; in which colors of black, beige, and red are painted in vertical patterns. ADORN YOUR HOME, OR OFFICE WITH THIS SUPERB HEHE MASTERPIECE!