Immaterial values

Non-European cultures with their particular, quite varied highly relevant life experiences, heritage and values have become marginalized, indeed in some instances are on the verge of extinction. Galerie Henseler views its activities as a way of helping to preserve cultural objects symbolizing these values, i.e. sculptures and traditional quotidian objects of archaic African, American and Oceanic tribal and feudal societies.

Galerie Henseler opines that another distinct value of ethnographic art is its authenticity and the crucial importance of authenticity. Authenticity here is defined as a characteristic of objects made and used in a traditional spiritual/ cult context. The special value of an authentic object is first and foremost that it provides human and spiritual comfort, respectively means of survival. Its material value is only of secondary significance.
Quite contrary to modern Western culture with the progressive commercialization of all aspects of life, in traditional non-European cultures hardly any objects have solely material value.

Material values

In comparison to the valuation of European art objects, the material value of ethnological objects, their market value, in the Western world is quite low in contrast to their high artistic quality.
The reason for this is the marginalization of non-European cultures, the disdain of the unfamiliar, the other.


In opposition to rejection of everything strange or foreign, ultimately the root of racism, Galerie Henseler sees the manifold, rich artistic achievements of "foreign” cultures as statements, values representing the experience of all mankind that must be regarded as our heritage as well.
By showing and making visible their power and beauty, their unfathomable mystery and wisdom which evokes to meditation, our aim is to help still existent objects of these cultures – some of them masterpieces – to survive and be appreciated.


Newspaper Article of June 6th/7th, 2015 in German, concerning a textile exhibition – klick PDF



The Mumuye tribe, known for its « cubistic », prismlike woodcarving style, consist of sevendifferent subgrous, which speak different languages, respectively different dialects in north-eastern Nigeria, south of the Benue river.
Unlike in most African tribes, in which carving is a craft tradition passed down from father to son, in this triobe carving is a calling.
Mumuye art is especially appeciated for its figurative sculpture which do not represent ancesters, but rather protective spirits with multipe functions. Protective spirits are common among other African tribes as well, but contrary to the Mumuye, they are always attributed to different individual sculptures. These protective funktions include protection against illness, healing diease, fortune-telling, telling the future, protection against evel, protection of one´s home and finally rainmaking, as the Mumuye live in an arid region. It is the above mentioned multifunctionality of Mumuye statuary which confers upon them an extraordinary status in Mumuye society.
Mumuye masks are rather rarely found. In Africa they are used in initiation ceremonies, funerals, harvesting rites and the so called Vabo cult.

The special artistic quality of the Mumuye sculpture is rooted in the selfdeterminated professional choice of the artists and their mission to fulfill to concentrated multipe demands culminating in the high status of the multifunctionality of the incorporated content.

A. Henseler
Exhibition: 10. March – 28. May 2022