An iconic piece of African furniture, these beauties are known as Bamileke stools and come from Cameroon. They’re also called King’s stools, donuts or birds’ nests and were traditionally used by the Bamileke Tribe for public ceremonies. The tribe’s woodworkers would carve these by hand from one continuous piece of wood. To do this, the lumber would first be thrown into the river to soften it up and then the ornate web pattern would be hand-carved into the hardwood. Any break in the wood would mean the piece was abandoned ó this break is considered a break in the life cycle and thus a bad omen. The intricate pattern you see in these represents the web of the earth spider, a symbol of divine wisdom. The Bamileke people believe that the earth spider is a link between this world and that of our ancestors and the inclusion of the web of the earth spider allows the departed spirits to be connected to the ceremonies for which these stools are used. Bamileke stools come in a variety of patterns and sizes, the biggest and most elaborate would be reserved for the Bamileke King.
Bamileke stools have really entered the global design consciousness over the last decade or so. All sorts of retailers are offering their knock offs, and it’s not hard to see why. These are gorgeous pieces that make for a beautiful end table or occasional seating. Despite being made from hardwood, the web hand-carved design lends the pieces a lightness and a sculptural appeal. Bamileke stools are a gorgeous addition to a space, lending that organic, earthy touch that warms a sleek and modern space. They also work well in outdoor spaces, provided the proper lacquering. So versatile and so fabulous!
Here’s a peak inside the Cameroonian workshop and the lovely talent who bring these pieces to life.
You can browse our full range of African Stools and Tables here.