African Section Collection Highlights


The African collection at the Penn Museum is one of the largest in the country. It includes approximately 15,000 ethnographic and 5,000 archaeological objects, mostly obtained between 1891 and 1937. A large part of the collection was purchased in 1912 from art dealers in London and Hamburg; many of these objects were collected in the Belgian Congo (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo) by the famous German ethnographer Leo Frobenius. A fair amount also came from missionaries working in Africa during the first three decades of the 20th century.

This collection of sculpture, masks, textiles, utilitarian objects, armaments, and ceramics dating from the 17th century to the 20th century are recognized as superb examples of the canons of African Art. The exceptional holdings are from all regions of Africa, with a concentration of artifacts from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Angola, Morocco, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, and Madagascar.

Although many of the artifacts can be appreciated from a purely artistic or aesthetic standpoint, the Museum's main interest in them is as an ethnographic study collection. The collection therefore contains everything from masks and statuary pieces to clothing and musical instruments.

21 - 35 of 35 Objects
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AF412
AF1835B
Object On Display
AF1437
29-201-704
Cup
AF412
View Object | 303
Basket Lid
AF1835B
View Object | 44385
Pile Cloth
AF1437
View Object | 26223
Tablet
29-201-704
View Object | 26220

29-12-97
Object On Display
78-2-4
29-12-236
Object On Display
29-93-3
Object On Display
Sculpture
29-12-97
View Object | 52849
Textile
78-2-4
View Object | 26222
Reliquary Figure
29-12-236
View Object | 44387
Armlet
29-93-3
View Object | 3743

AF2066
Object On Display
AF5121
AF5380
2003-53-2
Plaque
AF2066
View Object | 53573
Stool
AF5121
View Object | 53258
Statue
AF5380
View Object | 44384
Basket
2003-53-2
View Object | 53645

AF3685
AF1937
82-1-1
Object On Display
Mask
AF3685
View Object | 53567
Chopper
AF1937
View Object | 56122
Dance Crest
82-1-1
View Object | 53566
21 - 35 of 35 Objects
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