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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AF5116
AF1437
AF412
20291
Object On Display
Cup
AF5116
View Object | 166995
Pile Cloth
AF1437
View Object | 26223
Cup
AF412
View Object | 303
Game Board
20291
View Object | 8846

29-12-236
Object On Display
29-61-21
AF3685
AF1937
Reliquary Figure
29-12-236
View Object | 44387
Mask
29-61-21
View Object | 26219
Mask
AF3685
View Object | 53567
Chopper
AF1937
View Object | 56122

2003-53-2
78-2-4
29-201-704
AF5121
Basket
2003-53-2
View Object | 53645
Textile
78-2-4
View Object | 26222
Tablet
29-201-704
View Object | 26220
Stool
AF5121
View Object | 53258

AF2066
Object On Display
29-12-97
Object On Display
82-1-1
Object On Display
Plaque
AF2066
View Object | 53573
Sculpture
29-12-97
View Object | 52849
Dance Crest
82-1-1
View Object | 53566
21 - 35 of 35 Objects
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