African encounters (world gallery - gallery text)

African encounters

Africa is the only continent to border six different seas. It is open to the world, resulting in profitable trade. It has been shaped by great kingdoms and colonial conquest.

Africa has neat residential streets with tidy front gardens. Large bustling cities have 24-hour traffic and 24-hour parties. Africa has dense rainforests, travelled by hunter-gatherers and torn apart by international loggers. It has vast deserts, criss-crossed by ancient trade routes. Rugged highlands tower above the grassy plains of savannahs where zebra, buffalo and antelope are protected for tourism and hunted for meat and skins. Africa’s fishing ports are home to wooden boats and Chinese trawlers. These busy coastlines have brought exciting new materials and powerful new religions.

Africa was, is and will be many different things.

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Family label: What knowledge and skills do you pass to the next generations?


South-western Nigeria (Making the future) 3 cases, 1 interactive
Tuareg (Marking the void) 2 cases
Eastern South Africa (Stringing the home) 2 cases
Mbendjele people (Maintaining equality) 1 case

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: