Collection online

stool / duho

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Ritual seat (duho) sculpted from the dense tropical harwdwood guayacan, in the form of a powerful male figure crouching on all fours. The eyes, mouth and shoulders are inlaid with gold. The back of the seat is carved with a geometric design.

  • Ethnic name

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 1292-1399 (Calibrated radiocarbon dates)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 44 centimetres
    • Height: 22 centimetres
    • Width: 16.5 centimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Register 1949:
    Oldman Collection.
    "Found in a cave in Santa Domingo" called Duho; Arawak craftsmanship, 15th century.
            Wooden four-legged stool carved in anthropomorphic form and inlaid with gold; called duho.
    See ETH DOC 1307.McEwan 2009
    One of the most triking Taino masterworks is this chief's stool sculpted from the dense tropical hardwood guayacan (Guaiacum officinale). It assumes the form of a powerful male figure with ear spools crouching on all fours with his head tilted up and mouth locked open in a tense grimace. The inscribed patterns just below the shoulders and on the backrest represent cotton armbands and a waistband. The Taino prized the hardness, durability and above all the blackness of the guayacan for their most precious religious objects. Black represented night and was also equated with the absence of colour in the invisible spirit realm. Hammered gold inlay was placed in the eyes to indicate the ability to "see" into this supernatural world. Gold was also applied to the joints - the points of articulation that maintain the component body parts as an integral whole. Chiefs and shamans used these "seats of power" to intercede with the ancestor spirits (cernis) and to help manage and control the invisible forces governing the natural world as well as the human affairs.


  • Bibliography

    • MacGregor 2010 65 bibliographic details
    • McEwan 2000 Fig. 10.8 bibliographic details
    • McEwan 2009 pp. 108-109 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Exhibition history


    2005-2007 1 Oct-7 Jan, London, Horniman Museum, Amazon to Caribbean: Early Peoples of the Rainforest
    2008 Apr-Sept, Barcelona, Museo Barbier-Mueller D'Art Precolombi, Caribbean Before Columbus
    2008-2009 Sept-Jan, Santiago de Compostela, Fundacion Caixa Galiciade, Caribbean Before Columbus
    2009, Jan-Apr, Madrid, Museo de America, Caribbean Before Columbus
    2010-2011, London, BM/BBC, A History of the World in 100 Objects
    2014 23 Apr-01 Aug, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
    2014-2015 13 Dec-15 Mar, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
    2015 18 Apr–28 Jun, Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum, Tokyo, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
    2015 14 Jul–6 Sep, Kyushu National Museum, Dazaifu, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
    2015-2016 20 Sep-11 Jan, Kobe City Museum, Kobe, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
    2016 13 Feb-18 Jun, National Museum of Western Australia, Perth, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
    2016-2017 08 Sep-29 Jan, National Museum of Australia, Canberra, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
    2017 1 Mar-31 May, National Museum of China, Beijing, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'
    2017 28 Jun-08 Oct, Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, 'A History of the World in 100 Objects'

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Africa, Oceania & the Americas

  • Registration number


Stool (with anthropomorphic figure), duho made of wood, gold.

Front:Right Side

Stool (with anthropomorphic figure), duho made of wood, gold.

Image description



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Object reference number: ESA20923

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