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In 1889, three years after opening its doors, the Cincinnati Art Museum exhibited Carl Steckelmann’s extensive collection of African art and ethnographic material—the first museum to display such work. Steckelmann was a German American trader from Indiana who had worked along the coast of equatorial and central Africa in the 1880s and 1890s. The Steckelmann collection of nearly 1,300 objects was acquired by the museum in 1890 and it forms the core of the museum’s holdings. For more than a century, the museum has continued to expand its African collection, acquiring works of the highest aesthetic merit with a concentration of objects from central and western Africa.

View African Art Collection


Featured Objects

Female Figure Holding Calabashes (kosi)

Lumbo, Punu (Gabon), 1890.1545

Human Figure

Mumuye, Lagalagana (Benue River Valley, Nigeria), 1989.108

Cap Mask

Western Grassfields (Cameroon), 1991.133

Fertility Dance Headdress (Nimba/D'mba/Yamban)

Baga Peoples (Western Guinea), 1998.43

Palace Veranda Post

Yoruba (Agunna), 2003.271