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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AF1835A
Object On Display
29-12-68
87-13-48
Object On Display
30-46-2
Object On Display
Basket
AF1835A
View Object | 44385
Sculpture
29-12-68
View Object | 53601
Cross
87-13-48
View Object | 9391
Figure
30-46-2
View Object | 53579

42-30-524
AF5121
AF5360
AF412
Knife
42-30-524
View Object | 26218
Stool
AF5121
View Object | 53258
Pottery
AF5360
View Object | 53614
Cup
AF412
View Object | 303

29-201-704
AF428
AF2066
Object On Display
78-2-4
Tablet
29-201-704
View Object | 26220
Cup
AF428
View Object | 166911
Plaque
AF2066
View Object | 53573
Textile
78-2-4
View Object | 26222

29-61-21
2003-53-2
82-1-1
Object On Display
Mask
29-61-21
View Object | 26219
Basket
2003-53-2
View Object | 53645
Dance Crest
82-1-1
View Object | 53566
21 - 35 of 35 Objects
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