The Versatility of the Tonga Stool
Do you routinely find yourself in need of a few extra seats in your home but don’t really want to commit to another bulky chair or bench? In the foyer, especially while readying multiple kids for a winter’s day; in the living area, when large parties of guests are over; in the bathroom while bathing the kidlets. These are a few of the places where extra, but not permanent seating, stools or tables may be nice. How’s this for a marvelous answer: the Tonga stool from Zimbabwe. This beauty is hand-carved from a single piece of wood. A genuine artifact, these stools were status symbols for elders of the nomadic Tonga people of Zimbabwe. They carry significant meaning, for the Tonga people, then and now. Each is carved to incorporate unique lines, shapes, and patterns, making them easy to transport but also breath-taking to behold.
Genuine Tonga stools date from the late 19th and early 20th century. Some have been repaired with metal patches that just add to their beauty. There are also many contemporary versions and recreations being made today by artisans in Zimbabwe and South Africa. What I love about these is that they are truly unique sculptures. They are art. They are strong and graceful displayed on shelves. Stack multiples together to play up their curves and lines. And displayed under a console in the foyer, they are also a continually used seat, stool, and side table. In fact you may even find your Tonga stool continues its nomadic trek, albeit on a much smaller scale, moving between rooms as well as inside and out of the house. We are lucky to have a few of these one-of-a-kind gems in the showroom now. We’ve been playing around with gold-leafing in the showroom and love how these have turned out. Stop by or email to see what’s available. Or check our our African Stools and Tables page for a brief selection.