The Penn Museum will be reopening to the public on July 28. Learn more.
logo

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 - 30 of 35 Records

Cup

AF412

AF412

Cross

87-13-106

87-13-106

Cup

AF428

AF428



Sculpture

75-31-1

75-31-1

Cup

AF466

AF466

Sculpture

29-12-68

29-12-68



Basket Lid

AF1835B

AF1835B

Basket

2003-53-2

2003-53-2



Basket

AF1835A

AF1835A

Cross

87-13-107

87-13-107

Cross

87-13-48

87-13-48



Sculpture

29-12-97

29-12-97

Pottery

AF5360

AF5360



Box

AF521A

AF521A

Box Lid

AF521B

AF521B



Knife

42-30-524

42-30-524

Box Lid

29-93-6B

29-93-6B

This object is on display



Mask

29-61-21

29-61-21

Chopper

AF1937

AF1937



Statue

AF5380

AF5380

This object is on display

Cup

AF5116

AF5116

Armlet

29-93-3

29-93-3



Figure

30-46-2

30-46-2

This object is on display

Tablet

29-201-704

29-201-704

This object is on display

Box

29-93-6A

29-93-6A

This object is on display



1 - 30 of 35 Records
Record Type:  
Has Image:  
On Display:  
Section:  
Inscription Language:  
Bibliographic Reference Kind: