The Museum of Ethnography

Book ID 852

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The Museum of Ethnography,

Africa Collection

The Museum of Ethnography's Africa Collection offers some 10,000 objects representing the entire African continent and the island of Madagascar. More than half the collection was assembled between 1874 and the end of World War I through six large-scale acquisitions: the donation in 1889 by the hunter and explorer Count Sámuel Teleki of 338 objects collected in East Africa; the 1,520 artefacts purchased by the museum in 1898 from the material of the Ethnographic Mission Exhibition; 2,600 East African artefacts purchased from the collector and dealer Baron Pál Bornemissza between 1901 and 1905; the gift of 391 pieces from the Belgian Congo donated by the world famous British Museum collector/ethnographer Emil Torday in 1910; 189 objects primarily of West African origin sold to the museum by the art dealer Ferenc Pázman in 1914; and the donation by the traveller Jeno Kalmár in 1916 of 223 pieces gathered in Cameroon. During the period between the wars, the largest gift received by the museum included 680 pieces collected by Dr. Rudof Fuszek during several decades spent in Liberia.

Since the 1950's additions to the collection have been made primarily through purchase, rather than donation. In terms of volume, acquisitions meriting special mention include a collection of 192 Coptic crosses from Ethiopia, a group of 70 artefacts, primarily figurines, collected in the Congo, 246 objects chiefly of West African origin purchased from the estate of István Rudnyánszky, a gift of 30 pieces of northern African pottery from Edit Szávay, and the donation of 70 objects of everyday use from the collectors Géza Füssi Nagy and Mihály Sárkány, who participated in a research trip organised to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the voyage of Sámuel Teleki.

In geographic terms, the territories of East Africa have contributed the largest proportion of material (more than one-third of the collection), while the largest thematic group is that of weapons (occupying a full one-fifth of the collection).

The curator of the collection is Edina Földessy.

Extract ID: 4887
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