Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg
Mami-Wata-Altar-Nigeria, 1998 zusammengestellt; Foto: Brigitte Saal

This collection focuses on West- and Central Africa, especially the region along the Congo River, Cameroon and Nigeria. The Africa-inventory is distinguished by several large collections. The museum cooperated with the renowned German explorer Leo Frobenius for a long period; 10.000 artefacts accumulated on his expeditions to the Congo and to West Africa have been acquired by the museum.

In 1911, an estimated 3,000 objects and about 2000 photographs of Duke Adolf Friedrich zu Mecklenburg’s second expedition to Central Africa passed into the museum’s possession – the largest part having come from Cameroon and Central Africa. A high percentage of the Africa-inventory was destroyed during the Second World War. After the war, the inventory was replenished mostly with objects relating to everyday life in West Africa (the collection of Kunz Dittmer) as well as about 200 twin figures of the Ewe and numerous objects from African Voodoo.

Prevailing themes are weaponry, sculpture, masks with preserved matching costumes, carvings, pottery, gourds and jewellery.

The masterfully made cast heads and relief plates from the Kingdom of Benin (Nigeria), originating mostly from the 16th century, are some of the most valuable treasures of the African collection. In recent years, several works of contemporary African artists have also been added.


phone: 040. 42 88 79- 505
fax: 040. 42 88 79- 699

Currently, selected artefacts can be seen in our AFRICA exhibition.