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Beaded Chairs

The people of Cameroon can claim fame to some of the finest artwork crafted in Africa. Their repertoire is vast. Their talents seem to be focused upon creating the most elaborate and decorative objects possible. From woodworking to beadwork to bronze casting their highly embellished stylizing is enjoyed worldwide. Traditionally the task for the craftsman was tremendous for their charge encompassed visually preserving tribal lore and history, aggrandizing the owners' social standing, paying tribute and giving honor to ancestors and royalty. As evidenced by their works they were more than capable.
The creation of special seating was very important in Cameroon culture. The position that the owner held in the kingdom, village and family often dictated the type of seat that he was allowed to possess. Beaded chairs and thrones were considered part of royal paraphernalia and were commissioned for use only by members of the royal court namely the king and queen. Keeping in step with tradition only the motifs of royal court animals like lions, elephants and other symbols of royalty were able to grace these chairs. As restrictions eased other beautiful articles were allowed.

The chairs all have a wooden frame construction whose sturdiness varies from chair to chair. The upholstery consists of thousands of tiny strung beads laid upon a fabric backing. This natural fiber backing appears on the back of some chairs, under the arm rests and on the front of the bottom edge to prevent damage. The intricate beading is basically intact though in most chairs there will be minor areas where some have loosened or are partially detached. Such is the nature of these items. They are nevertheless glorious examples of functional art.

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