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HOME : African & Tribal Art : African Stools : Bamileke Wooden Stool
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Bamileke Wooden Stool - PF.3564
Origin: Grasslands of Central Cameroon
Circa: 20 th Century AD
Dimensions: 13.25" (33.7cm) high x 12.5" (31.8cm) wide
Collection: African Art
Medium: Wood

Location: United States
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The highland area of Western Cameroon, encompassing many small kingdoms, is one of the richest art-producing areas of Africa. Based on ethnic relationships, the region is usually divided into three subareas - Northern Grasslands: Tikar; Central Grasslands: Bamum; and Southern Grasslands: Bamileke. Art styles among the various groups of the Bamileke area share qualities of vigor and expressiveness. Often, kingly motifs, such as buffalo, adorn many of their sculptures.

Stools, including beaded stools, are important prestige items in Southern Grasslands. These stools often depict royal animals as caryatides. A fine example of such sculptures, this wooden stool is beautifully carved and polished, depicting lizards and long, curved arms supporting the top. The animal figures are boldly sculpted so that their contour lines enhance the open space work of the mid-section of the stool. The backs of the animals show small circular pattern, indicating the skin texture of the lizard. Moreover, the rim of the top is slightly raised to add a sculptural quality. Such magnificent stool was most likely used by a prestigious person of high rank in the ancient Cameroon society. As we look into this stool, we wonder if it was used for daily sitting, or if it was used by a priest in a ritual. The artistic and unique method of supporting the human posture fascinates our eyes. The functional stool carries its ancient sculptural and historical value to the modern viewers.
- (PF.3564)


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