SPECIAL ADVISORY: To safeguard against the spread of COVID-19, the Yale University Art Gallery will remain closed until further notice. Learn More

African Art

Chief’s Stool

early 20th century

Musanga wood

21 × 19 × 19 in. (53.34 × 48.26 × 48.26 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James M. Osborn for the Linton Collection of African Art
1955.61.16
Elaborately carved wooden stools with human and animal figures are objects of prestige throughout the Cameroon Grassfields. The stools are made for a small group of nobles and mark their rank; beaded stools are a privilege reserved for royalty. The human heads depicted on this stool, separated by undulating lines, may represent trophy heads captured in battle. Alternatively, they may suggest the strength and support of a chief’s subjects, upon whom he metaphorically sits.
Geography: 
Made in Cameroon
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
Babanki Tungo
Period: 
20th century
Classification: 
Furniture
Provenance: 

Dr. Ralph Linton, Sterling Professor of Anthropology at Yale, unknown date–1953
Mr. and Mrs. James M. Osborn donated to Yale University Art Gallery for the Linton Collection of African Art in 1955

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.