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Africa’s pre-colonial ‘crown jewels’ to find a home in new South African museum

Tim Cornwell: The Art Newspaper

One of Africa’s pre-colonial treasures, the Mapungubwe gold collection, discovered in the 1930s near what is now the South Africa-Zimbabwe border, will take pride of place in a new museum opening in Pretoria, South Africa, in mid-2019. The 13th-century collection, will be “a manifestation of the creativity of Africa” when it goes on show in the four-storey tower building of the new 280m rand ($19.7m) Javett Art Centre at the University of Pretoria (Javett-UP), says its director, Christopher Till.

The university led the excavations of graves at the hill site of Mapungubwe, where the evidence of an early Medieval civilisation defied apartheid narratives of an “empty land” before European settlement. The finds of gold anklets, bracelets, beads, a sceptre and wooden forms tacked with gold foil, including the famous sculpture of a rhinoceros, have been described as the “crown jewels” of South Africa and travelled on rare loan to the British Museum in London in 2016. …Read More

Pictured: The gold foil rhino from the Mapungubwe collection © University of Pretoria

2019-01-25T07:15:41+00:00