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African Collectables

Africa is a large continent, home to a plethora of countries, cultures and languages. As a result, it offers a dizzying variety of collectables, each one offering a unique touch tinged with the colours of the community it originates from. Like Aboriginal collectibles, some African collectibles have religious importance in their home countries.


For those on the lookout for cultural and religious collectables, masks are an excellent option. In Africa, masks often carry religious significance. They are common in many Sub-Saharan African countries, and in some cases one community may have dozens of types of masks. While many African masks represent the human face, others represent traits of an animal. Most masks are made of wood, but some may be made of copper or bronze, pottery, fabric or even stone. In addition, a mask's surface may be embellished with shells, feathers or horns.

Carved Figures

Many African cultures have a history of producing carved figures or sculptures. In some cultures, they are used in religious rituals. Style varies greatly depending on region. For example, Eastern Africa is better known for pole sculptures, while those from the other end of the continent carry more detail. Terracotta, bronze, ivory and wood are all materials used by sculptors, both modern and ancient, to create these figures.


Weaving has a long history in Africa. Traditional textiles are more than just cloth; they often convey information through colour and patterns. In addition to textiles, the weaving of baskets is another feature present in many African cultures. Baskets may be made of grass, papyrus, vines or raffia, and the techniques employed to make them are just as varied. Available in numerous forms, woven African baskets are often colourful and feature intricate designs.

Musical Instruments

The music of Africa is as vast and rich as the continent itself. Many of the traditional musical instruments make excellent collectables. Drums, rattles, harps and wind instruments are some of the most common. Percussion is a huge part of traditional African music, and there are several different types of drums, such as talking drums in West Africa and water drums in Central Africa. An interesting instrument from the east of the continent is the 'mbira' or the thumb piano.

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