African art > Chair, palaver seat, throne, stool > Bamileke stool

Bamileke stool (N° 17279)

In African art, the Bamiléké demonstrate their expertise through the use of multicolored beads.
This monoxyle seat, named rü mfo among the Bamum, features motifs such as the leopard, and two dignitaries with regalia. The leopard forms a recurring motif because it symbolizes royal qualities. Moreover, once killed, the skins and teeth of the feline were returned to the king. These attributes of prestige played a role in the rituals. A basic structure is carved in wood and then covered with a lattice of imported pearls and cowries, an ancient currency associated with wealth, over a cloth of rabane.
Located in the Nigerian border region, Cameroon's northwestern province, the Grassland is made up of several ethnic groups-Tikar, Anyang, Widekum, Chamba, Bamoun, or Bamum and Bamileke. Several centralized chiefdoms, or kingdoms, based on customary associations, secret societies,are organized around the Fon who has broad powers. Among the Bamilekes of Sudanese-Bantu origin, as in other ethnic groups, art objects testified to their owner's place in society. Seats, whose ornamentation varied according to social status, were carved for everyday use or for the meetings of customary societies. (The Bamiléké, R. Lecoq)  

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OriginRécolté in-situ 1997
Material(s)wood, perles, cauris
Height cm44
Width41 cm
Weight14.30 Kg
Estimated dating2ème halfxx°

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