Mask (Gelede), n.d.
Yoruba Peoples, Nigeria
Carved wood (polychrome), 14" h
Gift of Dr. Jeff R. Donaldson, 1992
African Art Collection
In 1955, the University received the estate of Dr. Alain Leroy Locke (1886-1954) which constituted the core of the Gallery's classical African art collection. Locke, a spokesperson in the Harlem Renaissance era, was also an avid collector and patron of the arts. Since this initial gift of 365 pieces, the collection has grown through the largesse of many donors from faculty of the University and individual collectors. The most recent gift of 121 pieces comes from Mrs. Robert B. Mayer of Chicago, Illinois, and fills significant gaps in the collection.
The African Art Collection includes major categories such as body ornaments, figures and figurines, household items, ceremonial masks, musical instruments, symbols of status and achievement, textiles, tools and implements of work, gold weights, and weapons. Historically, the dates of the collection range from early 18th century through the early 20th century, with Akan gold weights representing the oldest items in the holdings.