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

Liberia and Côte d’IvoireWe peoples


Wood, leather

W. 48.9 cm (19 1/4")

University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art, The Stanley Collection, X1986.52

Small wooden chairs with arms and backs are found in many parts of coastal Liberia and Côte d'Ivoire. They resemble European-style chairs and in fact are likely based upon the chairs Portuguese, British, and French colonial officials and traders brought with them on their travels. African artists adapted the European form to their own needs, creating chairs that are small enough to be easily portable and low enough to serve as both chairs and headrests. Used by elderly men, these chairs function as signs of their special status and their respected positions as village leaders.