The Museum’s African collection originated with gifts from the Hanes family starting within the Nineteen Seventies, primarily historical material from the 19th and twentieth centuries, together with essential objects from the Benin Kingdom such because the Altar to the Hand Later acquisitions expanded regional coverage to incorporate different elements of sub-Saharan Africa with an eye fixed toward assembling works that demonstrated a particular cultural type, akin to those of the Chokwe and Luba peoples of central Africa. The everlasting-assortment galleries current roughly forty African antiquities from all through West Africa, a show of immense ceramic vessels from across the continent, plenty of musical instruments, ritual dance costumes, silver jewellery from the Sahel, and masks and figures from tons of of African cultures.
Also present in Dogon territory are what stands out as the oldest textile fragments in West Africa (dated to the eleventh century), establishing a baseline date for the existence of the slim-band loom within the area, and the oldest wooden sculptures in existence (three have been traced by carbon-14 dating to the 15th-17th century ce).
Ancestor figures of the Bambara clearly derive from the same artistic custom as do many of those of the Dogon; so also do their sculptures in wrought iron Such figures are made by blacksmiths, who—due to their talent in remodeling material from the earth—are believed to manage great amounts of energy (nyama).
The carvers also produce the massive anthropomorphic rice ladles used to designate the most hospitable woman of a lineage throughout the harvest feast; chiefs’ staffs; and feminine figures that appear to be status gadgets, as are small figures cast in brass among the Dan and the Kpelle We girls additionally could carry out as masqueraders with bold facial ornament and full raffia costumes, as well as headdresses of shells and fur.
Some three or 4 centuries later, the smiths of Ife , seemingly unaware that unalloyed copper was not suitable for casting (or perhaps wishing to reveal their virtuosity), used it to provide masterpieces such as the seated figure in a shrine at Tada and the so-referred to as Obalufon masks within the Ife Museum.