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Duck-legged stool


Leg from folding stool terminating in a duck’s head, “Theban” is written in red on the artefact. This is 223mm long.  

Complete examples show such stools were made from two interlocking frames with a leather seat. 

Although folding stools date from the Middle Kingdom, most are New Kingdom in date. By the New Kingdom too pieces are more elaborate with duck heads. It is thus assumed that this example dates to the New Kingdom. 

Folding stools appear on tomb paintings as well as tomb furniture. A number of the latter have ivory inlay in the eyes and beak. It is possible that ours was once inlaid.  A stool from the tomb of Tutankhamun imitates the folding stool in its duck head terminals and general appearance. It is however, rigid. 

It has been suggested that the folding stool was a status symbol, and certainly the examples with ivory inlay are unlikely to have been used by the majority of the population. On tomb decorations stools seem to have been used by people of rank. 

Further Reading:


Brovarski, E. Doll, S.K. and Freed, R. E. 1982. Egypt‘s Golden Age. The Art of Living in the New Kingdom. 1558-1085 BC. Boston: Museum of Fine Arts Boston. pp70-71.  

Killen, G.P. 1980 (vol 1), 1994 (Vol 2), Ancient Egyptian Furniture. Warminster: Aris and Phillips. 

Killen, G.P. 1994, Egyptian Woodworking and Furniture. Princes Risborough: Shire Egyptology.  

Sweeney, D. 1998. ‘The man on the folding chair: An Egyptian Relief from Beth Shean’, Israel Exploration Journal 48, 38-53. 

Wanscher, O. 1980. Sella Curulis. The Folding Stool An Ancient Symbol Of Dignity. Copenhagen: Rosenkilde and Bagger.