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Many items made for everyday use in Africa have a very close connection to modernism in their appearance. Of course, there was no real connection between the two, one was made many years ago for a purely function tribal purpose, its form and decoration inspired by their own traditional roots.The other, our western modern world can only admire and wonder at the great artistic merits of these pieces.

It has been stated many times how many of the great modern artists of the early 20th century got their inspiration from ‘tribal art’.This was more in the figurative and mask form.What wasn’t appreciated then was the functional ‘art’ – household objects, cooking spoons, furniture, pots, shields etc …many of these items have now inspired modern present day designers because of their form, practicability and simplicity.

Interior designers have learnt to mix modern interiors with tribal forms.The two go hand – in – hand, the hard edges of modern interiors are softened and given sole and personality when mixed with tribal forms.

Take a look at some of the pieces below that were purely made for traditional use yet are so modern in appearance.

Above.A early 20th cent. traditional table from East Africa with a striking Zulu pot on top.




Above. A group of fine and early wedding sticks from the Afar culture.Somalia and Ethiopia


Above. A Ethiopian throne 19th century with a very modernist shape.

Above.A early blacksmiths pliers from West Africa with wonderful form.

Above. A early 20th century Ethiopian chair with great form and shape.

Above. A well-formed stool from Ghana

Above.A chieftains hat from the Congo.Early 20th cent.


Above.Gallery interior.A group of metal and wooden shields with two wooden East African headrests.


Tribal Gathering London

1 Westbourne Grove Mews, London W112RU

Tel – + 44 7939166148   020 72216650

Collecting Tribal hats – January blog 2013

Hats have played a very important role in African traditional and social life since the 1800′s.Always with a great sense of colour and design, the variety of African traditional hats is unlimited.They always formed an important role in ceremonies as symbols of prestige and importance.A man’s hat was his personal signature, a part of his living being and presence.One look at his hat could tell his wealth, his rank in society.It was as much about who he was as anything he possessed in daily life.Because of this, hats were a crowning achievement, a symbol of status and not something that was worn for good looks alone.

Over the years I have always been interested in collecting old, rare  (and not so rare)African tribal hats as well as other forms of personal adornment.In nearly every society in Africa hats were worn in some form or another.Building a collection of hats for display is always rewarding as they bring another colourful dimension to African art.I have now in the gallery a collection of over a dozen hats from all over African, some are featured below.

Above – Beaded crown.Yoruba.Mid 20th century.
Above  - Brass warrior’s hat with ostrich feather decoration.Lotuxo – Southern Sudan.1930′s



Above – A brass helmet similar to the one pictured above photographer in 1933 Southern Sudan.