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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Chief's throne

Chief's throne

19th or early 20th century

Portuguese dignitaries who traveled in caravans across Angola in the 18th century brought chairs (cadeira de sola) with them. Chokwe rulers saw the chairs and supported carvers who turned them into statements of African distinction. In an ingenious adaptation, the Chokwe throne becomes a tableau of sculptural activity. Not intended for comfort, an ngunja establishes a vision of the community over which the ruler presides. Imported brass nails, considered "gold" to the Chokwe, enhance the throne's prestige.
Wood, brass, leather
28 1/2 x 14 1/4 x 17 1/2 in. (72.4 x 36.2 x 44.5 cm)
Gift of Katherine White and the Boeing Company
Not currently on view

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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