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African Art Collection: Welcome

  Housekeeping Information


The African Art Collection was given to the Regis University Archives and Special Collections in 2009 by donors Paul Hamilton and Peter Natan. An additional donation by Elizabeth Bennett of Africa Direct was made in 2011.


The entire collection is open for research use.

Ownership and Literary Rights

The African Art Collection is the physical property of Regis University Libraries. Permission to publish photgraphs of the collection must be obtained in writing from an officer of the Regis University Libraries.

Preferred Citaton

The African Art Collection, Archives and Special Collections, Regis University


22 works of handmade traditional sculpture and masks

      Hours and Location

Tuesday - Friday

7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.

All materials in Archives & Special Collections can be found on the 4th floor of Dayton Memorial Library, Room 401. All researchers are welcome; an appointment is advised. To ensure access to the Archives and Special Collections, contact Elizabeth Cook for an appointment.

Scope and Content


   Pwo mask, Chokwe, Angola

 The collection of twenty-two handmade artifacts represents tradition pieces of tribal life south of the Sahara in West, Central, and East Africa.  All pieces are made of wood, though the Mahongwe reliquary has brass sheets and wires wrapped over a wooden core.  The age of each piece is uncertain, however the lifespan of wood in village life suggest an age of up to one hundred years.

The function of the masks, shrine figures, ancestor posts, and the reliquary perform roles unique to their tribe and country. As a broad generalization, all of these pieces serve their community’s welfare, either to initiate the young, to promote fertility and health and insure the community’s future, to increase the harvest of food, to redress social or political wrongs, or, to give honor to the ancestors and act as intercessors between the spirit world and the lives of the living, .


Each item in the Collection is identified by its function, tribe, and country of orign.

Regis University Archivist

Elizabeth Cook
University Archivist
Dayton Memorial Library, 401