Smithsonian To Display Disney-Tishman African Art Collect

A new exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art is showcasing an extensive collection that has inspired contemporary black artists and even animation for the blockbuster movie "The Lion King."

The Walt Disney-Tishman African Art Collection was donated to the Smithsonian in 2005 by the Disney company. It has helped define the study of African art history in textbooks for scholars in the field.

Curator Bryna Freyer says having the collection in Washington is like a dream come true.

The "African Vision" exhibit opens Thursday. It features 88 pieces from the collection.

Colorful and intricate masks, crowns and figures highlight the show. The items come from across sub-Saharan Africa and span five centuries.

Freyer says one of the masks has amber eyes made of silk from a spider's web.

Paul and Ruth Tishman started the collection in the late 1950s and sold it to Disney in 1984.

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