Yoruba beaded chairs are among the finest examples of vintage African design. Handcrafted by Yoruba artisans in Nigeria the beaded chairs are a testament to a rich innovative artistic heritage. The chairs were traditionally created for the Yoruba Kings and Queens; and are covered in symbols laden with meaning denoting things like wealth, power, strength and wisdom; in addition to having spiritual significance. The art form is also seen in parts of Cameroon.
Rich in intricate beading detail the level of craftsmanship is incredible; and sees thousands upon thousands of tiny glass seed beads painstakingly applied to fabric covers, which are then stitched or glued onto the chair frame. The frame itself is made from materials like wood or rattan. It was common practice for the fronts and tops of the arms to be beaded more elaborately than the backs, most likely due to the prolonged visibility of the front of the chair.
Truly special works of classical African design, the Yoruba Beaded Chairs have appeared in many stylish interiors across the globe. Traced back to the 1920’s, the chairs are quite rare finds today, and aside from being kept within a family, tend to be found through specialist dealers and auctioneer houses.
– Tapiwa Matsinde