Chair

Two squatting figures decorate the finials; one is elderly, bearded, and scarified, while the other is fresh-faced and young. At the lower left rung, two men carry a slit drum; between the caryatid figures supporting the chair’s front legs appear three men; the central splat has incised diagonal patterns called fuliko. At the center, what is possibly a pointy-nosed European’s face replaces the more habitual chikungu masker.
Artist Unknown, African, Chokwe Peoples Angola
1900-1925
Inspired by late 17th century Portuguese prototypes called cadeira de sola, this chair exemplifies the cross-cultural hybridization readily found in African art. Above all, chairs like this represent the authority and supreme spiritual power of its owners: chiefs, elders, diviners, or circumcision specialists. When presiding over local disputes, dignitaries leaned on citwamo ca mungu while sitting on animal hides.
Gift of Robert B. Jacobs
1992/1.136
Wednesday, June 20, 2018