Museum Folkwang
  • Africa

  • When, at the beginning of the 20th century, painters such as Emil Nolde (1867 – 1956) saw African sculptures for the first time in exhibitions and museums, they assigned these objects a new role in European culture. They saw in them both beauty and foreignness to the European canon. The abstract representations offered them confirmation of their own artistic path in life. At the same time they imagined paradisiacal cultures in close touch with nature to go with these objects; a longing for the origins of man, which resounded in many European reform movements of the time.
    On the advice of artists Emil Nolde and August Macke, Karl Ernst Osthaus also began collecting African objects. He purchased several sculptures and masks from the DIAFE expedition by Africanist Leo Frobenius to ›Yoruba-land‹ (Nigeria). Later these were joined by vessels with woven decoration from the Bakuba (Congo) as well as other African objects. The pieces come from various tribal groups and were intended for ritual use. However it is often difficult to reconstruct the precise context, as with the Kanga for instance, a Dogon mask, whose symbols are not clearly identifiable. The ›Guro Zamble dance mask‹ (Ivory Coast) shows an antelope, hyena, crocodile and leopard hybrid, these being the tribe’s sacred animals. Only the chosen members of the tribe were allowed to wear the mask in ritual dances. The magical effect of the sculptures can be found in the culture of many African tribes. The statue from the neighbouring Baule tribe depicts a ›blolo-bian‹. The Baule believe that everyone has a ghost-like doppelgänger in the hereafter, of which people make a wooden figure that has to be regularly oiled in order for the spirit to remain gracious. What is remarkable about both the statue and the mask is the fine carving work, showing skin scarification marks, a Baule practice. Images of the Baule sculpture and the Bayaka mask were published by Carl Einstein in his sensational book ›Negerplastik‹ in 1915.
  • Exh_Title_S: Africa
  • Exh_Id: 1,575
  • Exh_Comment_S (Verantw): Archaeology, Global Art, Applied Arts
  • Exh_SpareNField01_N (Verantw ID): 185
Works
Maske (zamble) der Guro
Maske der Baule
Maske ›mbuya‹ der West-Pende
Kanaga-Maske der Dogon
Männliche Kultfigur der Baule ›blolo bian‹ / ›asie usu‹
Hockende Figur der Luba (?)
Zepterkeule
Zepter, Fliegenwedel (funka - nsesa) der Woyo
Becher
Becher
Trinkbecher der Kuba
Becher aus dem Gebiet des oberen Ubangi, Nord Zaire
Pulverbehälter (tutu ki pfula) der Yombe/Sundi
Holzbüchse mit Deckel
Holzbüchse mit Deckel