Short Story: The Love between Tonga Stools and Décor – Paulski Art

Short Story: The Love between Tonga Stools and Décor


Long ago, in a distant land… is how stories in myths, fairytales, animations and productions we watched in the past would have probably started. However, this story here predates film, TV, print and basically the beginning of the industrial revolution.

Down south, towards the cusp of the African continent, a landlocked county lies just above South Africa. Her name is Zimbabwe. Bordered by Botswana to the west and southwest, Zambia to the northwest, and Mozambique to the east and northeast, Zimbabwe is quite mountainous, lush with plateau-like geography that is home to one of the world's biggest and most spectacular waterfalls. The Victoria Falls.

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Love is Acknowledging History

On this land that is a huge attraction and gift to the people of Zimbabwe, there exists a Bantu speaking ethnic group called the Tonga, who brought the Tonga African Stool to the world. They made this stool – a magnificent work of art made from a whole log with no breaks- a symbol of wonder, amusement and appreciation for the talent and creativity that was and still is. The geometric beauty draws you in.

Zimbabwean art includes decorative aesthetics applied to many aspects of life, including art objects as such, utilitarian objects, objects used in religion, warfare, in propaganda, and in many other spheres, but this traditional Tongan stool stands out as a versatile piece. The Tonga people in this story, are the cupids. The link between two great loves. I am guessing that the most fitting phrase I could use to link this love story to dynamism is the popular aphorism, ‘match made in heaven’. Only this time, the artists were a creative group of people living in Africa, who would introduce light to the world through the works of their hands, their individuality and expressiveness, and innovation that saved their environment while benefitting from it. I would definitely call that heaven.

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Love is Diverse

Many shapes and sizes, colors and patterns exist today, as an imitation of what already subsists in the world around us. Well, I could say that is 100% true of the shapes depicted by African art, whether it is basketry, stone and wood art, paints and colors, fabric or functional day to day items. It is a hallmark of African cultures in general that art touches many aspects of life, and most ethnic groups have a vigorous and often recognizable canon of styles and a great range of art-worked objects. And boy do they fall in love with today's décor in perfect symmetry! Don’t believe me? Check these out…

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Love is mutual confidence

Mutual confidence… can’t live without it… can’t survive without it either. Complementing one another and trusting each other to balance out hues, emotions and in this situation, vibrancy of a space. Whichever space you decide to décor, remember, mutual confidence in the items you are pairing takes the first position in the rule of spatial décor. To make everything simpler to understand, mutual confidence in interior design brings about positive change in your environment, takes away a sense of suffocating clutter and once that is done, you are able to feel grounded and confident in whichever spot you have chosen to refurbish. Feeling grounded is the idea. Not lost, but firm in existence, spirit and awareness. 

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Love is Energy

Tonga stools have been used for many years and for different functions. Today, they are priceless addition to homes, offices, hotels etc., not just because of the way they look or how far they have travelled the world to grace us with such magnificence, but because of the energy they release. It is because of the history behind it, the stories of when it came alive, the power and spirituality encompassed by this creation, and what it was used for. The feeling of owning something with such a deep, rich, narrative. When you lay your eyes on an ancient Tonga stool, you will notice the shapes at first sight. These lines and shapes had momentous function and meaning. The art in the pattern symbolizes structure and order. Tongans were people with high intellect and valued life, as their art denoted that the shapes and curves represented the connection as a people and the sense of community they had.

Africa is a land of heritage and numerous patterns with secret symbols, with some known widely now. The Tonga Stools do not fall short of this. As we have mentioned before in articles before, African artists were talented people, who created various works where not one was the same as the other, hence their unique shapes. The Tonga people understood functionality in the way that the stools’ unique lines, shapes and patterns made it lighter hence easy to transport, while being sturdy enough to sit on and breathtaking at the same time. They were a symbol of status for the elders, while acting as a companion for the nomadic nature of the Tongans, who carried them from one place to another. Today, they grace contemporary households in the most beautiful, most natural way possible. It is as if it was meant to be there. Never fading, décor shaping.

Love is natural. Love is sustainable. Love your space with these Tonga stool designs we have in stock.