The over-all figural form that your caryatid stool displays is suggestive of eastern Zairean inspiration and/or influence -- particularly Luba/Hemba. Sandro Bocola's African Seats is a nice volume to which to refer for various instances of the eponymous topic. Also worth noting in this particular book is the same bent-leg posture and incised detail of the stool rim which appears on the Songye stool which appears as Catalog No. 138 on page 125. One aspect of your stool which does puzzle me is the cicatrization which seems more consistent with the leaf patterns seen on more contemporary Cameroon Grasslands carvings than the far more detailed instances representing body scarification which often appear on Luba figures.
The attribution of my "Oku?" stool
to which you refer is a preliminary, unconfirmed attribution. The lone comparative object that led me to consider the Oku attribution was a similarly light-wooded "Stand with Figure" with similar features which "belonged for many years to the Fon of Nso who had received it in tribute about 1900 from Oku..." in William Fagg's African Tribal Images: The Katherine White Reswick Collection
(Cleveland: Cleveland Museum of Art 1968), Fig. 189 -- (see image
). It should be noted, however, that the attribution applied to this figure may be, or have been, subsequently revised since its publication 40 years ago. The figure also appears as Plate 128 on page 95 of Robert Farris Thompson's African Art in Motion
, still classified as Oku (although the collector's name at that time had changed to Katherine Coryton White). Although the "Oku? stool", like the "Stand with Figure," are notably light-colored and unpolished and have similarities in form which suggest a possibly relation within the Grasslands context posited, it is interesting to note conversely, similarities in both of these objects with the surprisingly simple Luba bowl figures which appear in Memory...
-- a reminder that works frequently arise which seem to exist outside of the expected stylistic limitations by which we seek to classify unattributed works complicating efforts to deduce attributions based on mere visual information in the absence of creation and collection data.
Other characteristics worthy of consideration on your stool which can, however, be compared with these characteristics appearing other objects are the headdress -- a simplified feather headdress perhaps not dissimilar from those which can be seen on many Luba figures and the back-bent legs which can be seen on at least three caryatid stools in Bocala -- one Songye
and two Luba (1
). Also note the carved detail
on the rim of the Songye stool and compare with that detail on your stool. Still, these are not conclusive pieces of evidence but rather parts of a larger holistic analysis. I recommend a patient survey of caryatid stools -- particularly Luba -- and a careful combing of details which you perceive in examples across which you come in order to amass data from which to allow an open-ended consideration.