The Story Behind the Bamileke Stools
Isn’t this gorgeous? It’s a Bamileke stool. The craftsmanship that goes into carving these from a continuous piece of astounding. The first thrown into the river to be softened up for carving. During the carving process, if there’s a break in the wood the entire piece is abandoned as it’s viewed as a break in the continuity of life – a bad omen. who is These are done entirely by hand from hardwoods and come in a variety of sizes and patterns. This one pictured is based on a centuries old design. Known as Bamileke stools, sometimes referred to as bird’s nests or donuts, they were traditionally used only for special ceremonial seating by the Bamileke Tribe of Cameroon. The tribe’s woodworkers would build these for auspicious occasions, with the biggest and best reserved strictly for the King’s use. The intricate woven patterns carved into the wood represent the web of the earth spider, a symbol of wisdom. The Bamileke people believe the web of the earth spider is also a link between this world and that of our ancestors; carving the web into these pieces allows departed loved ones to be connected to these ceremonies in spirit. Bamileke stools are an iconic piece of African furniture, one that’s entered the international design consciousness. These stools are now found in both modern homes and their outdoor spaces across the world, typically used as side tables and occasional seating. It’s easy to see the appeal of Bamileke tables: the webbed pattern creates a sense of lightness to the pieces not often found in hardwood furniture; the unique lines make them modern and architecturally eye-catching, while the wood construction lends an organic feel to the pieces. The Bamileke stools really are as versatile as they are fabulous!
Here’s a peak at the pieces raw in the workshop in Cameroon. It’s amazing to wander around the workshop and see how these beauties are created.
Once they’ve been stained and lacquered these pieces become some of the striking Bamileke stools/tables you find here at Snob. You can find more of our African Stools here!