A mask is something which conceals and creates identity. Africa is a major centre of mask production, particularly in the western and central regions of the continent. Masks have become a symbol for African culture.
Most of Exeter’s Africa textile have a Nigerian origin – due simply to many of our donors who worked and lived there.
There are, however, individual items from Senegal and Mali with a few other pieces from Central and South Africa and these will also be included.
RAMM has a large collection of adornment from various parts of the African continent.
Iron and copper are the two most important metals in Africa’s history. This section explores how the metals were used and exchanged by looking at examples found in Exeter’s collection.
Collections and research
RAMM’s Africa collections are the result of various donors who brought items back from the era of Empire. A few of the items were acquired in the 18th century, but many were collected in the mid to late-19th century, and even in the 20th century when new national identities were being forged. This space is dedicated to opening up the stories of these objects and the peoples behind them.
By exploring our collections, we can reveal new stories that are not only connected to our histories, but are also relevant to the issues of our world today. Asking questions and exploring a collection through scholarship will benefit our audiences and interested communities.
Explore our current collections research page.
Explore individual ethnographic items at Collections Explorer.