Ngundja (Ceremonial Chair)

By: Adenike Cosgrove Tagged:


Through early encounters with Portuguese traders (the start of which dates back to 16th / 17th century) European artefacts heavily influenced the design of royal artefacts and household utensils.

An example of this is the ‘seat of office’ or throne used by Chokwe chiefs (Mwana Nganga), modelled on European chairs. However the seats remain distinctly Chokwe with elaborate carved figurative scenes designed to symbolise the ‘breadth of a leader’s concerns & responsibilities’1.

Distinguishing Features

  • Leather-covered seats
  • Elaborate figurative scenes which can include:
    • Depictions of ancestors or chiefs
    • Dance figures
    • Masked figures referring to Chokwe initiation rites
    • Ngungu bird scenes from everyday life
    • Scenes of hunting or trading

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