Can you tell me a bit about these two chairs?
The goal of this installation is to showcase how European conceptions of chair have influenced and are influenced by African and non-Western seat design. As well as the cross cultural importance implied by sitting in a chair. Often times you'll see only the most important person in a room gets to sit in a chair -- to the left you'll see an American example and to the right you'll see an Asante example.
For the Asante , chairs and stools play a key role in stately regalia. Based on European furniture forms this type of chair represents the stability and commitment of a chief or king. The two finials on the top rear of the char are thought to represent an eagle’s talons and further reference to power of the seated individual. I personally love the highly ornamental use of the brass tacks. Kings and court officials had to sit in a highly prescribed symmetrical pose to embody stately grace and composure.
As you may have read on the label the American Wainscot Chair was intended for the most important person in the house -- and also took comfort second to the appearance of power and grace.
Can you tell me more about it?
For the Asante chairs and stools are an important part of royal and stately regalia. Chair designs like this were likely modeled after European designs. Typically only very important members of the royal court would sit in a chair such as this. Many of the details on the chair indicate how important the person sitting here must have been; the elaborate carving paired with the even more elaborate use of brass tacks jump out to me. The artist of this chair had a great eye for proportions!
Even more interesting the two finials on the top rare of the char,
are thought to represent an eagle’s talons and further reference to power of the seated individual.