Art Collection

From the lobby to its rooms, the Hotel Balmes is a veritable museum of sub-Saharan African art, showcasing pieces primarily from the Sudan, the vast area in central Africa that stretches from the Atlantic to the Red Sea. The collection features three-dimensional wooden masks and sculptures used by the majority Africa’s indigenous ethnic groups.

This fascinating collection includes masks from the Soninke (Mali, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Mauritania and Senegal) and Baule (Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire) ethnic groups, as well as ibeji statues—anthropomorphic figures that normally come in male/female pairs and represent spirits that are worshipped through prayer and offerings—from Yoruba groups (southwest Nigeria, Benin and Togo). Also on display is a Kota (Gabon and the Republic of the Congo) reliquary, stylized wooden figures coated in copper or brass that are believe to provide spiritual protection for the deceased.

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