African art at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem

Protective fertility figure (yanda)  Zande people, Democratic Republic of the Congo  Late 19th – early 20th century  Wood  H (without stand): 24.5; W (without stand): 9.5 cm  Gift of Lawrence Gussman, Scarsdale, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum, in memory of Dr. Albert Schweitzer  Accession number: B98.0061. Courtesty of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Protective figure (yanda). Zande people, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Wood. H: 24.5 cm. Gift of Lawrence Gussman, Scarsdale, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum, in memory of Dr. Albert Schweitzer. (#B98.0061) Courtesty of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Often forgotten, the Israel Museum in Jerusalem holds an interesting collection of African art. It received its first objects from Africa, Oceania, and the Americas in the 1950s. The bulk of Precolumbian, African, Oceanic, and North American art was donated by major collectors in the late seventies (for example Lawrence Gussman, Gaston T. de Havenon, Daniel Solomon and others). Over the years many more unique and rare individual pieces were given, as were whole collections, which came from the United States, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. Amrouche, de Monbrison, Entwistle, Kerchache, Guimiot – they all donated objects. As the collection grew, the department experienced a number of major changes in concept, eventually crystallizing into the Department for the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas. The department’s steadily growing collection today numbers over 6,500 objects from diverse cultural traditions, spanning four continents and four millennia.

The online collection shows 365 objects from Africa; browse them here.

171 objects are also featured in Douglas Newton’s book African and Oceanic Art in Jerusalem.

Seated figure. Jenne-Jeno area, Mali. 1000-1300 CE. Terracotta. H: 41 cm. Gift of Philippe Guimiot, Brussels (# B83.0754) Courtesy The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Seated figure. Jenne-Jeno area, Mali. 1000-1300 CE. Terracotta. H: 41 cm. Gift of Philippe Guimiot, Brussels (# B83.0754) Courtesy The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Stool. Pende people, Democratic Republic of the Congo. ca. late 19th century-early 20th century. Wood. H: 23.5 cm; Diam: 23.5 cm. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David Heller, Woodmere, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum (#B82.0254). Image courtesy of The Israel Museum.

Stool. Pende people, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Wood. H: 23.5 cm; Diam: 23.5 cm. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David Heller, Woodmere, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum (#B82.0254). Courtesy of The Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Female figure. Dan people, Cote d'Ivoire  Late 19th - early 20th century. Wood, leather, metal. H: 40 cm. Gift of Faith-dorian and Martin Wright, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum, in memory of Abraham Janoff. (# B92.1591) Courtesy Israel Museum, Jerusalem.

Female figure. Dan, Ivory Coast. Wood, leather, metal. H: 40 cm. Gift of Faith-dorian and Martin Wright, New York, to American Friends of the Israel Museum, in memory of Abraham Janoff. (# B92.1591) Courtesy Israel Museum, Jerusalem.