Lobi Stool

Lobi stools are frequently placed on shrines after the death of the owner.

Tribe: Lobi

Origin: Burkina Faso

Approx Age: 1950-60s

Materials: Wood, leather strap

Dimensions cm: 38 long

Ref. Number: 1593


Small Lobi stool from Burkina Faso. Due to the size of this piece this would be a stool used to take on journeys just to take 5 minutes to sit, call it a travelling stool, very highly patinated from use and a strap to carry over the neck or shoulder, slight imperfections and effects from ageing etc.

Provenance: Ex Helmut and Marianne Zimmer, Zurich.


Anthropomorphic in shape, this old Lobi wood stool is carved out of one piece of wood.
Traditionally, three-legged stools are used by men, whereas four-legged stools are used by women.
Utilitarian objects as well as personal objects denoting social status, Lobi stools are often personalised with decorative elements making special to its owner.

The name Lobi originates from two Lobiri words: lou (forest) and bi (children), meaning literally, “children of the forest” who settled initially on the left bank of the Mouhoun River or the Black Volta dividing Burkina Faso and Ghana. The Mouhoun River is important to Lobi peoples for many reasons. In terms of migration history, it marks an escape from slave raiders in present-day Ghana. In myth, it symbolises a dividing line between this world and the next, similar to the River Styx of Roman mythology. The Lobi crossed the Mounhoun centuries ago from east to west and settled in the lands and brought with them deep animist beliefs and superstition. According to Lobi legend, the spirits of the deceased must return across the river to rejoin their honourable ancestors in the ancient world. The banks of the Mounhoun are used in initiation rites and fish and animals in the river are considered sacred.

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