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
AF1835B
Object On Display
30-46-2
AF428
Basket
AF1835A
View Object | 44385
Basket Lid
AF1835B
View Object | 44385
Figure
30-46-2
View Object | 53579
Cup
AF428
View Object | 166911

AF5380
29-12-236
2003-53-2
AF3685
Statue
AF5380
View Object | 44384
Reliquary Guardian Figure
29-12-236
View Object | 44387
Basket
2003-53-2
View Object | 53645
Mask
AF3685
View Object | 53567

29-12-97
Object On Display
AF5116
20291
Object On Display
AF2066
Sculpture
29-12-97
View Object | 52849
Cup
AF5116
View Object | 166995
Game Board
20291
View Object | 8846
Plaque
AF2066
View Object | 211354

AF5360
29-12-68
82-1-1
Object On Display
Pottery
AF5360
View Object | 53614
Sculpture
29-12-68
View Object | 53601
Dance Crest
82-1-1
View Object | 211355
21 - 35 of 35 Objects
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