References Cited: Vendryes, Margaret Rose
1999 Africa in Repose: Stools and Headrests. Record of the Art Museum 58(
Use and Background: While most African stools have three to four legs and/or are made out of one solid piece of wood, this stool from the Songe tribe is made from two pieces of wood and has but one leg. This stool can also be described as a seat-cane or as a seat on a staff. When placed vertically, this artifact is used as a stool, but when inclined to one side, it can also be used as a backrest. The zigzag and linear designs on the stool are characteristic of the Songe tribe and are similar to the distinct scarification patterns used for peoples in the region. These linear patterns on other artifacts from the Songe have symbolized the paths of the ancestors (Melissa M. Hueting, letter to the author, December 11, 2008).
Stools are very personal objects. A stool will be made for a specific individual, usually with their advice on design and style, and no one else except that individual will be allowed to sit on it. These stools were much cherished and were past down through the generations until they could no longer be used. This stool shows much wear on the edges of the seat as well as many stress fractures. When stools became weak at certain points, they were often repaired with metal staples or nails, as is the case with this stool (Vendryes 1999:43). Stools in Africa often carry symbolic significance to the person