Skip to Content
Today Open today 10–11 members | 11–5 public

Altar Stool

A work made of wood and pigment.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

Image actions

  • A work made of wood and pigment.


Mid–/late 19th century


Attributed to an unidentified Ketu master (active mid-19th century)
Coastal West Africa

About this artwork

A sculptural tour-de-force, this stool was made for an altar dedicated to the deity Sango. At its center is a Sango priest—identifiable by his double-bladed staff and cape covered in cowrie shells—and a woman who reclines before him in a formal greeting. Moving clockwise, they are encircled by a man playing a drum; two women devotees, one of whom is holding a chicken for sacrifice; a rifle-toting soldier leading a bound captive; and a woman holding a large offering bowl. The motif of the soldier and captive, which also appears on the adjacent Esu dance staff by the same artist [see 1991.396], reflects the violent invasions that marked the era.


Currently Off View


Arts of Africa




Altar Stool


Nigeria (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Wood and pigment


40 × 34.3 cm (15 3/4 × 13 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Purchased with funds provided by Jamee and Marshall Field, and Mrs. Stanley M. Freehling; Laura T. Magnuson Endowment

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

Learn more.

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions