Asante Kotoro Dwa Stool

  • Tribe: Asante / Ashanti
  • Origin: Ghana
  • Approx Age: Mid - later 20th Century 1960 approximately
  • Materials: Wood
  • Dimensions cm: 50 long x 25.5 wide x 28 tall
  • Ref. Number: 0431

A beautiful later 20th Century Asante Kotoro Dwa stool. With Asante / Ashanti stools there are many variations and having many different meanings. This Kotoro Dwa   “The Porcupine Stool”, the porcupine is a symbol of the Asante nation: meaning if one is killed, there are hundreds following. It embodies the notion of readiness to defend one’s nation. Reference from African Seats by Sandro Bocola

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Each stool is made from a single block of the wood of Alstonia boonei (a tall forest tree with numinous associations) and carved with a crescent-shaped seat, flat base and complex support structure. The many designs and symbolic meanings mean that every stool is unique; each has a different meaning for the person whose soul it seats. Some designs contain animal shapes or images that recall the person who used it. The general shape of Asante stools has been copied by other cultures and sold worldwide.

Historical conflict over the original Golden Stool

Several wars have broken out over the ownership of the royal throne. In 1896, Asantehene Prempeh I was deported rather than risk losing both the war and the throne. In 1900, Sir Frederick Hodgson, the Governor of the Gold Coast, demanded to be allowed to sit on the Golden Stool, and ordered that a search for it be conducted. This provoked an armed rebellion known as the War of the Golden Stool, which resulted in the annexation of Ashanti to the British Empire, but preserved the sanctity of the Golden Stool. In 1921, African road workers discovered the stool and stripped some of the gold ornaments. They were taken into protective custody by the British, before being tried according to local custom and sentenced to death. The British intervened and the group was instead banished. An assurance of non-interference with the stool was then given by the British and it was brought out of hiding.

In 1935 the stool was used in the ceremony to crown Osei Tutu Agyeman Prempeh II

The Golden Stool is a curved seat 46 cm high with a platform 61 cm wide and 30 cm deep. Its entire surface is inlaid with gold, and hung with bells to warn the king of impending danger. It has not been seen by many and only the king, queen, true prince Ofosu Sefa Boakye, and trusted advisers know the hiding place. Replicas have been produced for the chiefs and at their funerals are ceremonially blackened with animal blood, a symbol of their power for generations. The stool is one of the main focal points of the Asante today because it still shows succession and power.