Ngala peoples
late 19th–mid 20th century
more object details

General Description

This low, saddle-shaped stool (ebonga) was considered a status symbol in Ngala society. By definition, prestige objects are made of expensive materials and require a specialist to make them. Until the early 20th century, brass tacks were expensive because they were imported from Europe and thus difficult to obtain. A sculptor carved the stool and created a subtle pattern with the metal tacks. Such a prestigious stool would have belonged to a chief, an individual of high social status, or a religious leader. Although the stool is now dull with age, when it was in use the tacks were polished to a high shine.

Excerpt from

  • Roslyn A. Walker, Label text, Arts of Africa, 2015.