Traditional Ghanaian stool

The traditional Ghanaian stool (or asesedwa in the Asante Twi language) is a carved wooden stool common in sub-Saharan West Africa, and especially common in Ghana.[1] Among the Akan it is used as a household object, it is used in rites of passage, and is considered sacred.[2]

A picture of the Ghanaian traditional stool also known as Asesedwa

The stool is used as a symbol of chieftaincy (particularly male) in special and private occasions, and is seen as a symbol of royalty, custom and tradition. Queen mothers may be seen in public sitting on the traditional stool as a seat of authority, communicating messages about the nature of leadership.[3] The asesedwa is believed to have religious importance.[4] It is carved into different sizes, shape and design to communicate a specific message of authority.[5] It is important in the Akan tradition because it highlights the sense of community, social and political life,[3] tradition and serving as a symbol of unity and solidarity, believed to bind the souls of their kinsmen together in both the physical and metaphysical worlds.[2] The stool has a great influence on when a leader assumes office and hence a popular term "enstoolment" is used. In Akan, the stool of a leader is so integrally connected to his personality that the expression "a stool has fallen." defines his death.[6] The Golden Stool of the Ashantis is a traditional stool called Sika Dwa which is believed to have a metaphysical origin. The Mampongs have the traditional silver stool.[3]


The conventional stool (asesedwa) is made from the sese wood that gives it the whitish appearance. Other trees such as Bodaa can be used to carve the traditional stool.

  • Cut down the specific tree
  • cut the trees into logs
  • dry the log for about two weeks
  • The stool is carved requiring skill and creativity for approximately six to twelve months[4]
  • No addition of chemicals but are smoked for pest protection[3]

Appearance and structureEdit

The traditional stool has a rectangular base with concentric rings of spider in the middle, a central support that communicates the message with figural representations[3] as a symbolism[2] of the stool and a carved seat on the central support where the person of authority sits on.


  1. ^ Patton, Sharon F. (1979). "The Stool and Asante Chieftaincy". African Arts. 13 (1): 74–99. doi:10.2307/3335615. ISSN 0001-9933. JSTOR 3335615.
  2. ^ a b c Quarcoo, Alfred K. (1990). "The Sacred Asesedwa and Mission". International Review of Mission. 79 (316): 493–498. doi:10.1111/j.1758-6631.1990.tb02205.x. ISSN 1758-6631.
  3. ^ a b c d e Hale, Catherine Meredith (2013-09-04). "Asante Stools and the Matrilineage". Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  4. ^ a b K. Gyesi, Zadok (2016-05-30). "Asesegua the forgotten royal stool". ‘Asesegua’: The forgotten royal stool.
  5. ^ "Stool, symbol of Ghanaian culture". Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  6. ^ "Prestige Stool". Retrieved 2020-11-23.