Asante stool from Ghana

Visiting Assistant Professor Matthew Rarey brought a twentieth century Asante stool from Ghana into his ARTHIST 371: African Art class. Such stools, given to individuals at birth or marriage, over time take on greater significance as they accrue their owner’s soul and life history through repeated use. Using this stool from the UWM Art Collection, Professor Rarey asked students to not only examine the stool’s form, but to sit on it. Rachel Davis (pictured) noted how the backless stool forced her to sit up straight, and its low height made it difficult for her to stand up: embodied metaphors for the attentiveness, presence of mind and calmness of demeanor so prized in Asante communal discussions and decision-making. ​