African art > Chair > Tschokwe seat
Chokwe Women's Caryatid Seat (N° 18706)
Ex-collection German African art.
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A piece of African furniture, monoxyl, this prestigious stool illustrates the attachment to ancestors, through the carved figure supporting the seat. It symbolizes power and fecundity through maternal lineage. The chiefs chokwe had a major function in propitiation rites for the hunting and fertility of women, the objects exalting power providing protection.
The surface of the seat is inlaid with hundreds of upholstery nails. The metal also appears in the form of earrings and patterns on the face and shoulders of the carved effigy. Matt patina with orange reflections, residual ochre inlays. Cracks of desiccation.
Peacefully settled in eastern Angola until the 16th century, the Chokwé were then subjected to the Lunda Empire from which they inherited a new hierarchical system and the sacredness of power. Nevertheless, the Chokwé never fully adopted these new social and political contributions. Three centuries later, the Chokwé eventually seized the capital of the Lunda weakened by internal conflicts, thus contributing to the dismantling of the kingdom. The Chokwé did not have centralized power but large chieftaincies. They were the ones that attracted artists who wanted to put their know-how at the exclusive service of the court. The artists created so many varied pieces of such quality that the Lunda court employed only them. From the 18th century, exchanges with Europeans, the Portuguese in particular, influenced their sculptures.
Ref : "Chokwe", 5Continents, B. Wastiau , p. 46.
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