The Anthropology Study Collection of the Institute of Anthropology and African Studies contains around 2,800 objects, of which over 2,300 are from Africa, around 400 from Australia, Papua New Guinea and other parts of Oceania and around 40 from South America: household items, textiles, jewelry, weapons, musical instruments and sacred objects. It is the only collection of its kind in Rhineland-Palatinate.
The foundation of the collection consists of more than 500 objects from Bolia and Ekonda from the equatorial rainforest of the Congo, which were collected during the “Mainz Congo Expedition” (1951-1954) led by Erika Sulzmann together with Ernst W. Müller. This trip was followed by eight more trips to the Bolia and their neighbors between 1956 and 1980, during which Erika Sulzmann steadily expanded the holdings of the Mainz collection. In addition, in the 1950s and 1960s, there were research trips to Pakistan (Hindu Kush expedition 1955/56), Afghanistan (Stuttgart Badakshan expedition 1962/63) and West Africa (including Hamburg Obervolta expedition 1954/55; Haberland trip 1966).
The collection was supplemented and expanded through exchanges with various institutes and museums. In 1968, the Frobenius Institute in Frankfurt am Main traded objects from the Ekonda for a small collection from Ethiopia. In 1971, the institute gave the extensive and valuable Pakistan and Afghanistan collection to the Linden Museum in Stuttgart and received almost 700 objects in exchange, primarily from Africa (including from the Maasai and Cameroonian grasslands), but also from Oceania (in particular Papua New Guinea and Australia), almost all of which had been collected around the turn of the last century. Many came to Europe in the late 19th and early 20th century. They are therefore historical objects that relate to past living environments and at the same time tell of their appropriation in Europe in the context of the colonial conquest of Africa or Oceania.
The archived Anthropology Study Collection is designed as a teaching and research collection. The collection is made available to a wider public through exhibitions, loans and participation in exhibitions. A tour is possible after consultation with curator Dr. Anna-Maria Brandstetter.