By Victoria Rovine
University of Florida (formerly University of Iowa)

Ghana; Asante artist

Mmaa Dwa (woman's stool)

Late 19th-early 20th century

Wood, metal, organic substances

H. 25 cm (9 7/8")

Photograph by Catherine Hale, May 2012, Offinso, Ghana


African furniture, especially chairs, headrests, and stools, is often very personal in nature, used only by its owner. Many of these objects are portable, permitting people to carry their furniture with them, whether visiting a neighbor or traveling long distances. Because furniture may become closely identified with its owner, chairs, headrests, doors, and other objects are often kept with in a family for generations. Curved stools such as this one from the Asante are associated with the soul of their owner. The owner alone may sit on it throughout life, and after death a person's stool might be placed on an ancestral shrine.