African Art Collection

Scope and Content


   Pwo mask, Chokwe, Angola

 The collection of twenty-four 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 span  of between forty  to one hundred years.

The  masks, shrine figures, ancestor posts, and the reliquaries 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, to increase the harvest, or,  to redress social or political wrongs. In short, these artifacts are prayers addressed to the ancestors and the spirits of nature, who properly honored can act as intercessors between the spiritual world  and that of the living,


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

Regis University Archivist

Profile Photo
Archives & Special Collections
JavaScript disabled or chat unavailable. You can email us at
Dayton Memorial Library
Research Help Desk
1.800.388.2366 x4031
Book a Librarian

Access and Location

Archives staff are located in DML 104.

All archives and collections are non-circulating and are accessible by appointment only. 

Patrons that have not set an appointment are not guaranteed consultation with Archives staff.

Before visiting please submit a research request via the research request form. Walk-in researchers are not guaranteed access to archival and collection materials. 

Phone: 303.964.3612 Email: