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ID number:  BIRRC-D0100
Institution:  Research and Cultural Collections
Named collection:  Danford Collection of West African Art and Artefacts
Artist / Maker:  Unknown
Title / Object name:  Ashanti stool
Object type:  Furniture
Place made:  Ghana
Culture:  Kibi
Materials:  Wood
Measurements:  43 x 60 cm
BIRRC-D0100.jpg

This is a two tiered structure. The lower section has four legs and a central pierced column, while the upper section depicts a reclining figure supporting the curved seat. In Asante culture, stools have a spiritual as well as practical use. Stools were often given as a rite of passage, or to symbolize status and power. The king of the Asante’s power is symbolized by his Golden Stool, the centre of the legend of the Asante kingdom. The stools are generally carved from one piece of wood into a crescent shape upon a support. These supports commonly have designs of repeated shapes or animals of symbolic significance to the Asante culture. When not being used, stools are traditionally turned onto their side. This is because Asante stools are said to contain the soul - Sunsum - of the owner, and turning them over prevents another soul settling.

This stool was presented to William Cadbury by Sir Ofori Atta in 1931. It was given to the University of Birmingham in 1966 by John Cadbury.

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