Bamileke Coffee Tables at Estuco Interiors.
That beautiful hand-carved table you’ve been seeing in some of your favourite interiors has a unique history behind it. In fact, it’s not even really a table—it’s a handmade throne, literally designed and fit for royalty. The Bamileke stool is a work of art, a touch of African culture and history, and so much more than a coffee table.
Among the many cultures that exist throughout the African continent, the creation of hand-carved stools is one of the oldest and most pervasive furniture traditions. There are hundreds of stools to choose from, each designed with its own cultural context and meaning. Each stool has a distinct history—and is often not just a resting station for objects or bodies. In that way the Bamileke stool is like other Bamileke works of art, such as the famous tyn, or juju hats.
The most well-known Bamileke stool pattern outside of Cameroo—the geometric crisscross pattern seen on many of the stools you’ll find in homes today—is representative of the earth spider. Considered a more common motif, and often less embellished by beadwork than the leopard or other reserved symbols, the spider and cowrie shell designs are considered appropriate for sale and often go to tourists or retail outlets. That’s why it’s ok to use them as coffee tables, end tables, or even seating. But if you’re ever traveling in Cameroon and see a gorgeously beaded Bamileke stool with an abstract depiction of a fierce leopard, it’s not a place to leave your keys and please—don’t sit down.
Pieces created by the Bamileke, like the work of other kingdoms of the Cameroon Grasslands, often play an important role in state ceremonies. These hand-carved stools have long been used as ceremonial seating to indicate the status and power of tribal chiefs and kings. Each stool is hand-carved from a single piece of local teum wood and then stained. The status of the owner is represented in the particular design.
– From Cameroon, East Africa
– Hand carved from a single tree trunk
– Solid hardwood
– Each piece bears slight unique characteristics
– Dimensions are approximate
– Easy to maintain
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