Bamileke Lizard Stool

Only the Chief and his notables were allowed to sit on this stool, but only the Chief when it was outside the palace.

Bamileke Chiefs lizard stool

Tribe: Bamileke

Origin: Oku Chiefdom, North West Cameroon

Approx Age: 1970

Materials: Wood

Dimensions cm: 52 diameter x 47 tall

Ref. Number: 1639


A stunning Bamileke lizard stool previously owned by the Chief of Oku. The chief sat on this stool whilst in the palace with his notables and also brought out during ceremonies, the notables would also be allowed to sit on this stool whilst behind the chiefdom walls. A lovely large stool with carved lizards all around the middle of the stool on two layers in between the seated top and the ringed base, dark brown patina on the top of the stool which has crazed and looks very nice.

Provenance: Owned by His Majesty Che Francis, Ruler of the Oku Chiefdom.


The craftsmanship that goes into carving these Bamileke stools from one piece of wood is astounding. Apparently, before they start carving, they first throw the large chunk of wood into the river to be softened up for carving, if during the carving process a break appears in the wood, the entire piece is abandoned as it’s viewed as a break in the continuity of life, a bad omen! 

These are carved entirely by hand from hardwoods and in a variety of sizes and patterns all for different purposes. The villages craftsmen would carve these for all ceremonial occasions, with the larger and more exquisite reserved strictly for the King’s use. The intricate woven patterns carved into the wood, in this case, depicting lizards, represent the totem of the King showing off his power, as the King’s and Chiefs of the Bamileke and Bamum were meant to have gained awesome powers of being able to change into different animals when they were enthroned.

Bamileke Chiefs stool

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