Ancient African Art Exhibition in Paris

In the heart of Paris, a rare glimpse at an ancient collection.

These pieces made by indigenous people of the African Dogon region date back to the 10th Century.

The sculptures and totem-like characters had symbolic importance to the tribes and were often used during ancient rituals to encourage fertility, or to pray to the water gods in a dry and barren landscape.

Helene Joubert from the Musee de Branly.

[Helene Joubert, Musee de Branly, African Collections]:

"There is so much quality in those pieces. People tend to realise that it's not a question of naturalism, there is representation of human body for example. And the way African art reconstruct the reality, the mask for example, also using very limited colours like black, white and red which are mineral or natural colours or something. People are receptive now, they can feel the quality of this."

Originating near the Bandiagara cliffs in what is now Mali, there was a time when Dogon art was rarely seen in public and was shielded from outsiders.

Today it's finally on display, but remains preserved as an important pillar of African culture and design.

[Helene Joubert, Musee de Branly, African Collections]:

"It took some time for us to understand also the way things were conceptualised through African aesthetics but I think yes, artists are still very much seduced by African art."

The collection of more than three hundred items will be on display until July.