Wood, cotton, plant fiber, glass beads, and indigo
Overall: 51 x 38 x 43 cm (20 1/16 x 14 15/16 x 16 15/16 in.)
Severance and Greta Millikin Purchase Fund 2006.138
In the Cameroon Grassfields region of central Africa, powerful animal imagery was associated with the wealth and prestige of rulers. This stool incorporates a ferocious leopard. It was once owned by the rulers (fon) of the Bandjoun Kingdom, including Fon Kamga II Joseph (r. 1925–75).
Bead-covered wooden stools and thrones are one of the most prevalent art forms among the various kingdoms and chiefdoms in the Cameroon Grassfields region. 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 could temporarily transform himself into this feared predator.
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