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.

1 - 20 of 35 Objects
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AF428
AF5116
AF1438
29-93-39
Cup
AF428
View Object | 166911
Cup
AF5116
View Object | 166995
Pile Cloth
AF1438
View Object | 26224
Drum
29-93-39
View Object | 53646

AF1437
42-30-524
20291
Object On Display
AF5360
Pile Cloth
AF1437
View Object | 26223
Knife
42-30-524
View Object | 26218
Game Board
20291
View Object | 8846
Pottery
AF5360
View Object | 53614

29-61-21
Object On Display
29-93-3
AF3685
78-2-4
Mask
29-61-21
View Object | 26219
Armlet
29-93-3
View Object | 3743
Mask
AF3685
View Object | 53567
Textile
78-2-4
View Object | 26222

29-12-97
Object On Display
75-31-1
AF521B
AF521A
Sculpture
29-12-97
View Object | 52849
Sculpture
75-31-1
View Object | 26221
Box Lid
AF521B
View Object | 26217
Box
AF521A
View Object | 26217

AF5380
2003-53-2
29-201-704
87-13-48
Object On Display
Statue
AF5380
View Object | 44384
Basket
2003-53-2
View Object | 53645
Tablet
29-201-704
View Object | 26220
Cross
87-13-48
View Object | 9391

1 - 20 of 35 Objects
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