The V&A holds a variety of material from Africa. The collections include important historic artefacts from Egypt, Ghana and Ethiopia, as well as ceramics, textiles and glassware from North Africa, and prints and photographs from southern Africa.
Four Zulu Pots
Although more research is required to accurately date the pots they would have been created at some point in the 19th century, a period witness to increasing production and use of Zulu pottery as Zulu communities changed from scattered, mostly pastoral clans to being concentrated in large military kraals.
Adire – Indigo Resist Dyed Cloth From Yorubaland, Nigeria
Adire are indigo resist dyed cotton cloths that were made by women throughout Yorubaland in south-western Nigeria. Resist-dyeing involves creating a pattern by treating certain parts of the fabric in some way to prevent them absorbing dye.
Treasures from Ethiopia
The collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum include a number of Ethiopian objects and images. Many of these are associated with a British military expedition undertaken to Ethiopia (then known as Abyssinia) in 1867-68, which ended with the ransacking of the Ethiopian Emperor's fortress at Magdala.
Gold was central to Asante art and belief. At a political level, gold indicated the kingdom's dominance over rivals. Much gold entered the Asante court via tribute or war and was worked there by artisans from conquered territories. The court's power was further demonstrated through its regulation of the regional gold trade.
Africans in Art
The V&A collections include many representations of African people in a variety of media, ranging from painted portraits, prints and photographs to images in illuminated manuscripts, stained glass and heraldic devices, as well as material relating to the slave trade and abolitionism.