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Ethnology

Ahmadou Tall's Drum

Ahmadou Tall's Drum

According to General Archinard, the beat of this drum (aka tabala) was heard continously for two days during...

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Balafon

Balafon

A balafon is a kind of wooden xylophone or percussion idiophone from the Mande culture, in West Africa. In...

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Chiwara crest

Chiwara crest

This Chiwara crest is a ritual object representing an antelope. The Chiwara initiation society used these...

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Fang mask

Fang mask

This typical Ngil society Fang mask is characterised by its heart-shaped face with half-closed eyes and an...

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Fon sceptre

Fon sceptre

This typical royal sceptre from the Kingdom of Dahomey is called a makpo. It is one of the seven symbols of...

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Grebo mask

Grebo mask

Grebo masks belong to the Kru cultural group. They represent the spiritual forces of the unseen world living...

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Headrest

Headrest

African headrests were used to keep men's elaborated headdresses away from dirt, by supporting their head...

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Lwalwa mask

Lwalwa mask

The Lwalwa people is a small ethnic group from Belgian Congo (approximately 20,000 people). Their masks are...

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Maasai Rungu - Kenya

Maasai Rungu - Kenya

Maasai warriors use these wooden throwing clubs made of a long narrow shaft with a heavy knob at the end to...

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Mma Anyi funerary head

Mma Anyi funerary head

This terracotta figure depicting a notable was found in the remains of the Museum, after the September 1944...

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Monstrance axe

Monstrance axe

Whether it is called « green club », « stone mace », « ceremonial axe », or « monstrance axe », this...

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Ndunga Woyo mask

Ndunga Woyo mask

The ndunga Woyo masks are named after the secret society they belong to. They have slit eyes, marked mouths...

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Nkisi figure

Nkisi figure

The bilongo (magic charges) in this figure have been revealed by a radiograph taken at the National Museum of...

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Nyeleni figure

Nyeleni figure

In Bamana language, Nyeleni means « favourite » . This stylised image of a forever young, beautiful woman...

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Somali shield

Somali shield

The Somalis are considered by their Horn of Africa neighbours to be a particularly warlike people. They have...

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Teke figure

Teke figure

Teke male figures are easily recognisable thanks to their common stylistic characteristics : bent legs, bent...

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Tuareg saddle

Tuareg saddle

This type of saddle characterised by its cross-shaped handle is used by Tuaregs to harness their camels,...

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We mask

We mask

We masks were designed to appear ferocious. They were used during war councils, in order to establish contact...

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A collection of objects from all over the world !

The Museum's ethnology collections contain almost a thousand various objects from Africa and Oceania (including Australia).

The vast majority of these items were collected during the 19th century. Most of the African objects were donated by General Louis Archinard after the colonial wars in Senegal and Sudan. Louis Le Mescam, a merchant living in New Caledonia, and the great explorer Eugene Delessert, have collected most of the Oceanian objects.

Africa

The Museum's African art collections reflect the maritime, military, and merchant heritage of the city, as well as the French colonial history.

The Museum's collections contain almost 500 various objects (masks, figures, weapons, religious artifacts, musical instruments...) which are genuine testimonies to the symbolic thinking and history of African peoples.

These often rare or unique items originate from all the continent, from Senegal to Nigeria, through Somalia and Zimbabwe.

Oceania

The Museum's collections contain almost 200 items from Oceania and the Pacific Ocean. Most of them were brought back to France by colonial administrators and merchants during the 19th century.

Remarkable collections of objects from New Caledonia, Santa Cruz Islands, or Vanuatu are displayed amongst unique objects from New Zealand or Easter Island.

 

Click on the interactive map or on the « item files » tab to explore the Museum's ethnology collections.

Ahmadou Tall's Drum

According to General Archinard, the beat of this drum (aka tabala) was heard continously for two days during the battle of Ouossebougou. This battle took place between the 25th and 26th of April 1890.

Balafon

A balafon is a kind of wooden xylophone or percussion idiophone from the Mande culture, in West Africa. In the Malinké language, balafon is a compound of two words : bala, meaning « the instrument », and fon, meaning, « to sound ».

Chiwara crest

This Chiwara crest is a ritual object representing an antelope. The Chiwara initiation society used these crests, as well as dances, to teach young Bamana men social values and agricultural techniques.

Fang mask

This typical Ngil society Fang mask is characterised by its heart-shaped face with half-closed eyes and an uncarved mouth. At dawn or at dusk, the chief would appear shouting, covered in kaolin and wearing this mask, often preceded by a young boy ringing a bell, encouraging the population to hide.

Fon sceptre

This typical royal sceptre from the Kingdom of Dahomey is called a makpo. It is one of the seven symbols of authority of the Fon monarch, who was not allowed to go out in public without it.

Grebo mask

Grebo masks belong to the Kru cultural group. They represent the spiritual forces of the unseen world living in the forest, in a similar way to Bete masks, even though they differ in style and size. Grebo masks are very rare and they can reach up to 1 metre.

Headrest

African headrests were used to keep men's elaborated headdresses away from dirt, by supporting their head while asleep. This object associated with dreams was very personal and could not be borrowed.

Lwalwa mask

The Lwalwa people is a small ethnic group from Belgian Congo (approximately 20,000 people). Their masks are very rare and this specimen from the Le Havre Museum's collections is probably the only one in French public collections.

Maasai Rungu - Kenya

Maasai warriors use these wooden throwing clubs made of a long narrow shaft with a heavy knob at the end to protect themselves from danger.

Mma Anyi funerary head

This terracotta figure depicting a notable was found in the remains of the Museum, after the September 1944 bombings.

Monstrance axe

Whether it is called « green club », « stone mace », « ceremonial axe », or « monstrance axe », this object is a symbol of power and prestige. It was reserved to New Caledonian village chiefs – or Great Elders – and was used during certain ceremonies.

Ndunga Woyo mask

The ndunga Woyo masks are named after the secret society they belong to. They have slit eyes, marked mouths and are usually painted in red, black, and white.

Nkisi figure

The bilongo (magic charges) in this figure have been revealed by a radiograph taken at the National Museum of Natural History.

Nyeleni figure

In Bamana language, Nyeleni means « favourite » . This stylised image of a forever young, beautiful woman is mostly used during Djo (initiation) celebrations, where it is washed, purified, anointed, and exhibited.

Somali shield

The Somalis are considered by their Horn of Africa neighbours to be a particularly warlike people. They have also been renowned for centuries for the quality of their leather work.

Teke figure

Teke male figures are easily recognisable thanks to their common stylistic characteristics : bent legs, bent arms perpendicular to the body, scarified face, trapezoidal beard, and helm-shaped headdress.

Tuareg saddle

This type of saddle characterised by its cross-shaped handle is used by Tuaregs to harness their camels, which are considered to be the most prestigious animals in the Sahara region.

We mask

We masks were designed to appear ferocious. They were used during war councils, in order to establish contact with the spirits. Représentant différentes entités, tous avaient une personnalité propre avec des traits exagérés, voire répétés, et de nombreux éléments ajoutés.

Ahmadou Tall's Drum

Ahmadou Tall's Drum

According to General Archinard, the beat of this drum (aka tabala) was heard continously for two days during...

Scope note

Balafon

Balafon

A balafon is a kind of wooden xylophone or percussion idiophone from the Mande culture, in West Africa. In...

Scope note

Chiwara crest

Chiwara crest

This Chiwara crest is a ritual object representing an antelope. The Chiwara initiation society used these...

Scope note

Fang mask

Fang mask

This typical Ngil society Fang mask is characterised by its heart-shaped face with half-closed eyes and an...

Scope note

Fon sceptre

Fon sceptre

This typical royal sceptre from the Kingdom of Dahomey is called a makpo. It is one of the seven symbols of...

Scope note

Grebo mask

Grebo mask

Grebo masks belong to the Kru cultural group. They represent the spiritual forces of the unseen world living...

Scope note

Headrest

Headrest

African headrests were used to keep men's elaborated headdresses away from dirt, by supporting their head...

Scope note

Lwalwa mask

Lwalwa mask

The Lwalwa people is a small ethnic group from Belgian Congo (approximately 20,000 people). Their masks are...

Scope note

Maasai Rungu - Kenya

Maasai Rungu - Kenya

Maasai warriors use these wooden throwing clubs made of a long narrow shaft with a heavy knob at the end to...

Scope note

Mma Anyi funerary head

Mma Anyi funerary head

This terracotta figure depicting a notable was found in the remains of the Museum, after the September 1944...

Scope note

Monstrance axe

Monstrance axe

Whether it is called « green club », « stone mace », « ceremonial axe », or « monstrance axe », this...

Scope note

Ndunga Woyo mask

Ndunga Woyo mask

The ndunga Woyo masks are named after the secret society they belong to. They have slit eyes, marked mouths...

Scope note

Nkisi figure

Nkisi figure

The bilongo (magic charges) in this figure have been revealed by a radiograph taken at the National Museum of...

Scope note

Nyeleni figure

Nyeleni figure

In Bamana language, Nyeleni means « favourite » . This stylised image of a forever young, beautiful woman...

Scope note

Somali shield

Somali shield

The Somalis are considered by their Horn of Africa neighbours to be a particularly warlike people. They have...

Scope note

Teke figure

Teke figure

Teke male figures are easily recognisable thanks to their common stylistic characteristics : bent legs, bent...

Scope note

Tuareg saddle

Tuareg saddle

This type of saddle characterised by its cross-shaped handle is used by Tuaregs to harness their camels,...

Scope note

We mask

We mask

We masks were designed to appear ferocious. They were used during war councils, in order to establish contact...

Scope note

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Free entry

How to find us ?
Muséum d'histoire naturelle
Place du Vieux Marché
76600 LE HAVRE
Phone : +33(0)2 35 41 37 28
museum@lehavre.fr

Opening hours

Open from Tuesday to Sunday :
from 10AM to noon
to 2PM to 76PM

Closed on Monday and Thursday morning

More information

The collection database

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