African Thrones - African Stools - African Chairs
Les Tabourets Africans - Assises Africains - Trônes Africains
Afrikanischer Stuhl - Afrikanischer Thron
Nigerian Stool - Awka or Igbo
Early collected southeastern Nigerian Stool
Awka Stool + - 30 cms high.
On offer, a rare highly detailed Awka or Igbo chair from southeastern Nigeria. This Awka chair (or Igbo) displays incised decoration to its base and underside of the upper support.
Igbo Stool - South Eastern Nigeria
The main structure exhibits ten open carved circles that silhouet and equal number of alternating triangles, divided by three pillars. The profile view portrays a set of three dimensional lugs, formed from hand carved circle loops (above right).
William Fagg identified a related, though less complicated stool as Igbo, in 1946 (above centre).
The stool was sold by the descendants of a colonial family at public auction in the United Kingdom. It likely dates to the first half of the 20th century.
An exhibition catalogue 'Man at Rest', published a similarexample collected from Awka people in Awkatown (above right).
The stool has a repair break to its base (above left top section). We are told that the stools 'acquired' red substance on the base is evidence that the it resided on a colonial stoop or porch (veranda) for many years, an area where it was customary to heavily apply red floor polish / wax.
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Chokwe Throne Struts
Chair Struts - Headboards - Angola - Zambia
Chokwe and related peoples transformed functional objects into prestige court art commemorating the power and status of the chief. Chokwe thrones included elaborate figurative scenes - a symbolic microcosm of life - or depictions of ancestors and chiefs. The chairs are amongst the few African objects not carved from a single piece of wood, but instead assembled in parts we call struts. Owners of the status symbols were invariably chiefs or headmen. Our set of early collected carved struts includes a rare plaque or bed headboard.
Upper Chair Strut
The upper strut of the four piece collection displays two Chihongo figures joining hands. African wrought iron nails remain on either side of these highly stylized carvings.
Second Strut (Plaque) - Chihongo
The second plank from the top dates to 1910 and depicts Chihongo at the centre. It was made in Dundo Angola, where Portuguese 'Quirion da Fonseca' organized the 'Diamang' workshop at the museum. Elaborate carved plaques were decorated with ancestral representations and pokerwork 'scorched patterns', to use as headboards over small beds.
Above left, chief Chauto as photographed in 1903 by Fonseca Cardoso. Above right, a Chihongo costume published in: Os Akixi (Mascarados) do Nordeste de Angola.
Chihongo is a chiefly male spirit who appears at special royal events and ceremonies, such as initiations for the sons of chiefs, or the investiture of a new chief. He is friendly and displays vitality, power and wealth, aspects depicted by a disc styled beard and an elaborate crown.
Center Double Faced Back Strut
The third double faced
strut from the top includes portions of the original chair. It was
made in Angola by Luchazi people, who migrated into Zambia from 1920
and field collected in 1993.
had been attracted to Zambia (Northern Rhodesia) by a missionary hospital
located at Chavuma. The struts stylized faces
are ancestral representations, too be found on Chokwe and related
peoples combs, spoons, flywhisks, drums and
The lower chair strut includes three carved heads. The center head sports a stunning coiffure of 19th century origin and a horizontal figure 8 mouth. Matching medicinal tortoise representations are found to either side, affording protection, shelter,fertility and regeneration.
The struts great age is confirmed by carved facsimiles of Chihongo, appearing on either side of the central head. The object was sold at Sotheby's NY in the 1970's and remains with dated tags from the period.
The assemblage is offered as a unit on a custom made stand. (above)
These rare struts depict a variety of Chokwe and related peoples coiffures. Artists detailed and recorded old styles that celebrate the high fashion achieved at what became the pinnacle of Chokwe court art.
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