The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of December 6, 2016

Leopard Caryatid Stool, possibly 1800s

wood, cotton, fabric and glass beads, Overall: 51.00 x 38.00 x 43.00 cm (20 1/16 x 14 15/16 x 16 7/8 inches). Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2006.138

Bead-covered wooden stools and thrones are one of the most prevalent art forms among the various kingdoms and chiefdoms in the Cameroon grasslands. This example, once part of the royal treasury, belongs in the category of "travel stools," usually used in conjunction with more private, minor ceremonies and rituals at the palace. The leopard imagery confirms the object’s royal status. It alludes to the belief that the king was able to temporarily transform himself into this feared predator.

Pierre Harter, Arts anciens du Cameroun (Arnouville: Arts d'Afrique Noire, 1986), p. 280 (reproduces the field-photograph Father Frank Christol made in 1925, the original of which is preserved in the archives of the Musée de l'Homme, Paris).
Pierre Harter, Les Rois sculpteurs, exh. cat. (Paris: RMN, 1993), p. 61.
Jean-Paul Notue & Bianca Triaca, Bandjoun (Milan: 5 Continets, 2005), p. 54.
Bettina von Lintig, Cameroun, exh. cat. (Paris: Galerie Bernard Dulon, 2006), p. 125-26 (field photo), 127-29 (object as such).

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