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Chair (Akonkromfi)

Arts of Africa

The leather seat, extensive use of upholstery tacks, inclined angle of the backrest, and finials of this chair are all based on seventeenth-century European examples. The flourishes on the diagonal arms and the elaborately carved openwork back are baroque. The X-form of the legs suggests a folding chair.

The word akonkromfi means “praying mantis” and probably refers to the articulated form of both the insect and the chair. Chairs such as this are purely ceremonial and indicate prestige. They are used exclusively by Asante chiefs and royalty on state occasions.
CULTURE Asante
MEDIUM Wood, copper alloy, leather
  • Place Made: Ashanti Region
  • DATES 19th century
    DIMENSIONS 32 1/2 x 23 x 27 in. (82.6 x 58.4 x 68.6 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    ACCESSION NUMBER 85.200.2
    CREDIT LINE Purchased with funds given by Marcia and John Friede, Dr. and Mrs. Abbott A. Lippman, Mr. and Mrs. Milton F. Rosenthal and Carll H. de Silver Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Asante. Chair (Akonkromfi), 19th century. Wood, copper alloy, leather, 32 1/2 x 23 x 27 in. (82.6 x 58.4 x 68.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Purchased with funds given by Marcia and John Friede, Dr. and Mrs. Abbott A. Lippman, Mr. and Mrs. Milton F. Rosenthal and Carll H. de Silver Fund, 85.200.2. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 85.200.2_bw.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 85.200.2_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Chair frame is carved in wood and, except for the leather seat, is entirely covered with brass sheet. The sheet is decorated with various stamped and incised designs. Brass nails are arranged in a double row along the edges of the sheet covered frame. Raised brass semi-spherical shapes are attached at regular intervals over frame. The underside of the leather seat is of leather lattice-work. The legs are in "x"-form and extend outwards in graceful curves. The back has an openwork motif which is an elaboration of a basic design of a concentric circle enclosed in a square. A series of large decorative loops extend from the arms of the chair. The finials at the top of the chair are unmatched and appear to be of a different metal and workmanship than the rest of the chair. Each finial rests on small brass plaques with a raised design. Brass covered projections with rounded ends extend from each side of the seat. CONDITION: Good.
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