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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AF5116
29-93-39
AF1437
AF1438
Cup
AF5116
View Object | 166995
Drum
29-93-39
View Object | 53646
Pile Cloth
AF1437
View Object | 26223
Pile Cloth
AF1438
View Object | 26224

AF428
AF412
20291
Object On Display
AF5360
Cup
AF428
View Object | 166911
Cup
AF412
View Object | 303
Game Board
20291
View Object | 8846
Pottery
AF5360
View Object | 53614

42-30-524
2003-53-2
29-201-704
87-13-48
Object On Display
Knife
42-30-524
View Object | 26218
Basket
2003-53-2
View Object | 53645
Tablet
29-201-704
View Object | 26220
Cross
87-13-48
View Object | 9391

87-13-106
Object On Display
87-13-107
Object On Display
AF466
Object On Display
AF1835A
Object On Display
Cross
87-13-106
View Object | 56124
Cross
87-13-107
View Object | 56125
Cup
AF466
View Object | 56064
Basket
AF1835A
View Object | 44385

AF1835B
Object On Display
AF1937
29-12-97
Object On Display
75-31-1
Basket Lid
AF1835B
View Object | 44385
Chopper
AF1937
View Object | 56122
Sculpture
29-12-97
View Object | 52849
Sculpture
75-31-1
View Object | 26221

1 - 20 of 35 Objects
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