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African Art

Currently not on view.

Made almost exclusively for and about Africans, the objects in the PEM collection reflect the artists' powers of observation and abilities to render distinct human features. Works first acquired in the early 1800 by members of the East India Marine Society demonstrate the strengths of sub-Saharan and West African artists working with ivory, leather, wood, resin and other indigenous materials. Carvings and ceremonial masks with leopard fur and shells speak to African relationships with Europeans and other visitors interested in trade. Early and significant works from coastal East and West Africa, an important body of Zulu arts and storytelling devices illuminate cultural traditions. PEM also has one of the world's finest collections of Ethiopian Christian art - 16th- to 20th-century icons and metalwork with roots in the late Antique and Byzantine traditions.

Explore some highlights from the collection