Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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ngunja (carved chair)
  • Chokwe peoples
  • ngunja (carved chair), late 1800s–1908
  • Where object was made: Angola
  • wood, leather, hide, carving
  • Object Height/Width/Depth: 53 x 30 x 46 cm
    Object Height/Width/Depth: 20 7/8 x 11 3/4 x 18 1/8 in
  • Gift of Claude D. Brown
  • Not on display
  • 2007.3152
Multimedia
Description
Label Text
Literature
Exhibitions

The four legged chair has an angled back. The back panel is solid, with a small mask face in the center. There is a prominent two-lobed headdress, identified as the chief's headdress. The panel is decorated with a starburst below the mask, linear designs in a triangle pattern and vertical rows on the side. The facing right finial is a rendering of the same mask that is located in the center. The facing left finial is a human head with a hairstyle of small bumps.

The front top rail is decorated with human figures seated on the rail. The facing left and center figures have their hands on their heads. The facing right figure has his left hand on his chin and his right arm crossing his abdomen.

The front bottom rail is decorated with human figures straddling the rail. The facing left and center figure have their arms bent in front of the body. The facing right figure is facing the other two figures, arms in same position, but holding two gourds.

The facing right top rail is decorated with five human figures straddling the rail. The front figure does not have arms. The figures behind each rest their arms on the figure before. This is identified as the ciyanda dance.

The facing right bottom rail is decorated with two figures with very long arms. They are straddling the rail, facing a cylindrical object with four round objects on top.

The back top rail is decorated with two figures straddling the rail, facing each other. They both have very long arms, held in front of them over a rectangular object.

The back bottom rail is decorated with three figures. The center figure sits with arms and legs spread to flanking figures. She has breasts, a prominent navel and scarring on the lower abdomen. The flanking figures are straddling the rail, facing the central figure, their hands below her breasts. This is identified as Lweji resisting her brothers for control of the Chokwe kingdom.

The facing left top rail is decorated with two human figures, facing each other. The rear figure has very long arms, holding a square object. The front figure has its arms bent in front of the body.

The facing left bottom rail is decorated with two monkey figures, each facing the front of the chair.

The dark brown stretched leather seat is held in place with hide ties.