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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42-30-524
AF466
Object On Display
87-13-48
Object On Display
AF1437
Knife
42-30-524
View Object | 26218
Cup
AF466
View Object | 56064
Cross
87-13-48
View Object | 9391
Pile Cloth
AF1437
View Object | 26223

20291
Object On Display
AF521B
AF521A
AF412
Game Board
20291
View Object | 8846
Box Lid
AF521B
View Object | 26217
Box
AF521A
View Object | 26217
Cup
AF412
View Object | 303

AF428
AF5116
AF5121
AF2066
Cup
AF428
View Object | 166911
Cup
AF5116
View Object | 166995
Stool
AF5121
View Object | 86273
Plaque
AF2066
View Object | 211354

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