The core of the museum’s African Art collection was formed by a transformational gift by Katherine White (1929-1980) in 1981. You can learn more about this donation in Pamela McClusky’s article “Taming Reality: Katherine White and the Seattle Art Museum” (included in the book Representing Africa in American Art Museums: A Century of Collecting and Display, University of Washington Press, 2011).
White started collecting in 1960, and died in 1980, leaving 2,000 objects to the Seattle Art Museum – yes, that’s 100 objects each year she avidly acquired! Other noteworthy treasures were donated earlier by the Bombay-born collectors Nasli & Alice Heeramaneck, among which three important Sapi ivories (1, 2, & 3), and this killer Luluwa figure. Unfortunately the images in the database are rather small, but at least they are there. Have fun browsing!