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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AF1937
29-93-3
29-93-6A
AF466
Object On Display
Chopper
AF1937
View Object | 56122
Armlet
29-93-3
View Object | 3743
Box
29-93-6A
View Object | 53561
Cup
AF466
View Object | 56064

20291
Object On Display
87-13-48
Object On Display
AF1835A
Object On Display
AF1835B
Object On Display
Game Board
20291
View Object | 118357
Cross
87-13-48
View Object | 53648
Basket
AF1835A
View Object | 44385
Basket Lid
AF1835B
View Object | 44385

AF1437
29-201-704
AF5380
42-30-524
Pile Cloth
AF1437
View Object | 26223
Tablet
29-201-704
View Object | 26220
Statue
AF5380
View Object | 44384
Knife
42-30-524
View Object | 26218

AF521A
AF521B
AF412
AF428
Box
AF521A
View Object | 166991
Box Lid
AF521B
View Object | 166991
Cup
AF412
View Object | 303
Cup
AF428
View Object | 166911

AF5116
87-13-106
Object On Display
87-13-107
Object On Display
AF3685
Cup
AF5116
View Object | 166995
Cross
87-13-106
View Object | 56124
Cross
87-13-107
View Object | 56125
Mask
AF3685
View Object | 53567

1 - 20 of 35 Objects
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