This large Ashanti stool from Ghana depicts an elephant – a symbol of power and strength in the Ashante culture. This impressive stool has been carved from a heavy brown wood.
Ex Private Collection, UK
Estimated Period: First Quarter of 20th Century
Condition: There is a missing piece to one of the corners, as shown in the photographs.
It was the Ashanti custom for every man and woman to have their own stool. Alongside their pragmatic use, the stools also have a spiritual meaning. They served as the seat of the owner’s soul. When the stool was not used, it was leaned aslant against a wall in order to prevent other ‘souls’ passing by from sitting on it. Should a high dignitary pass away, they stool would be dyed black. This piece of furniture thus became a sacred object of recollection, of remembering one’s ancestors. It would hence be venerated, sacrificed and no one was allowed to sit on it.
S. Bocola, Afrikanische Sitze pp.35-36