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
AF5380
29-93-3
Object On Display
AF1438
Cup
AF428
View Object | 166911
Statue
AF5380
View Object | 44384
Armlet
29-93-3
View Object | 3743
Pile Cloth
AF1438
View Object | 26224

75-31-1
AF466
Object On Display
29-93-6A
29-93-6B
Sculpture
75-31-1
View Object | 26221
Cup
AF466
View Object | 56064
Box
29-93-6A
View Object | 53561
Box Lid
29-93-6B
View Object | 53564

20291
Object On Display
29-12-236
Object On Display
AF5360
AF1835A
Object On Display
Game Board
20291
View Object | 8846
Reliquary Figure
29-12-236
View Object | 44387
Pottery
AF5360
View Object | 53614
Basket
AF1835A
View Object | 44385

29-12-68
87-13-48
Object On Display
30-46-2
Object On Display
42-30-524
Sculpture
29-12-68
View Object | 53601
Cross
87-13-48
View Object | 9391
Figure
30-46-2
View Object | 53579
Knife
42-30-524
View Object | 26218

87-13-107
Object On Display
87-13-106
Object On Display
29-93-39
AF521B
Cross
87-13-107
View Object | 56125
Cross
87-13-106
View Object | 56124
Drum
29-93-39
View Object | 53646
Box Lid
AF521B
View Object | 26217

1 - 20 of 35 Objects
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