The Bamileke Kingdom, which straddles Cameroon's border with Nigeria and Guinea, has a population of up to 1 million people in and around the nation's north, west, and south-west. In Africa, there is an infinite number of seating styles unique to various civilizations, each characterized by its own design. The Bamileke stool is most certainly one of those.

You must first comprehend the chair's unusual function. It's a curiosity, but the ancient spiritual traditions of the Bamileke must be acknowledged. There is a strong and active belief in ancestors and "unseen" dimensions in African tribal organizations, as well as modern family lines. Ancestors are revered individuals who have passed away and communicate with their descendants through an intermediary to assist them navigate life.

The Bamileke is a popular West African divination method, in which the lineage of an individual or group is traced from one side to the other. You may find these forefathers frequently depicted as beautiful spiders or other fine carvings on Bamileke chairs. Those circles and geometric designs have more significance than appears at first sight. The seats were often used by a medicine man or someone who could interpret ancestral messages for royalty, religious leaders, and military men in their efforts to serve the general public.

Skilled artisans soak a single piece of wood in water to soften it before beginning the craft. Each chair is carved from a single log. If a flaw appears in the wood during carving, the project is regarded as a break in continuity of life and terminated.

We're seeing a shift in the international market with 2018 furniture designs emulating natural forms and 1950s design curves, but the Bamileke design has gone above and beyond. The chair is so adaptable that it has revolutionized African handicrafts by allowing them to be more useful in contemporary living spaces and reclaiming their rightful place as an iconic work of Western art and design.

It has tremendous sculptural presence. It's a useful item for any setting and looks great, carved from wood with a distinctive design.

Don't be limited by the word "chair." The Bamileke is a comfortable outdoor lounge chair, a gorgeous set of outside tables for entertaining, a random, occasional stool with upholstered pill-cushion in a delicious fabric... We've even seen it used as a side-table in plush-clad youngsters' rooms, so no more chin-bumping on sharp corners.