Ngombe chair called Ekele
Ngombe peoples, Democratic Republic of the Congo (previously Zaire), wood, brass tacks, and iron tacks
30" H. x 14" W. x 25 " D

Nail-studded stools and chairs like this, called Ekele, are used as prestigious furniture or as a throne for Ngombe chiefs.
They stood witness to the owners' political, social, and religious status.

This beautiful 6-legged chair is wonderfully adorned with geometric designs in brass and iron tacks. A couple of the legs have been broken and a few
have had some repair. The chair is in beautiful form and has great lines. I think it's a very nice example of these uncommon chairs. It's the first African
chair in my collection, but it's definitely a great centerpiece in my collection of headrests and stools.

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO SEE FULL SIZE PHOTO
EXAMPLES BELOW ARE NOT IN MY COLLECTION - THEY ARE FOR REFERENCE PURPOSES ONLY
Object above in the collection of the National Museum of African Art

Chair, early 20th century, Ngombe peoples
Wood, brass tacks, iron tacks
H. 61 cm (24 in.)
90-4-1, museum purchase

"This chair, a sign of high prestige, probably belonged to an important Ngombe
chief. An artist carved the legs and body of the chair from a single block of wood in
the customary African fashion.

Using European joinery techniques, he then added the rungs. He decorated the
chair with European brass and iron tacks--highly valued trade imports that indicated
the owner's wealth and rank."

From: Art of the Personal Object

Also see:
African Forms in the Furniture of Peirre Legrain
CLICK HERE to see the Ngombe "tip stools"/backrests in my collection (shown above)
From the book: Art from Zaire. 100 Masterworks from the National Collection.
The African-American Institute. p. 129, fig. 97.

Chiefs seat. (72.59.1). Ekele. Wood, nails. Length: 27 1/2 " (680 mm); height: 27" (675 mm).
Ngonzi locality, Lisala zone.

"A seat carved from a single piece of wood, with the nails outlining certain designs. The
notched elements in the rear are decorative. Some examples of this kind of seat still have
metal rings.

The Ngombe constitute an important group among the peoples of the Middle Zaire River. No
statuary is known in Ngombe art, with the exception of some funerary figures modeled in clay.
Their art is a decorative one, with designs applied to common objects, particularly weapons.
Nail-studded stools are among the most carefully made objects."
The piece above was in the 2004 Calmels Cohen auction catalog (Paris)