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photograph of current display in the Grand Vestibule

A display highlighting the interaction between the monarchy and the wider world

Cook Islands

Chief's stool second half twentieth century

RCIN 92090

Grand Vestibule, Windsor Castle

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Chiefs’ stools (no'oanga) of this kind have long been known in Oceania and were traditionally reserved for people of high status. Because a ceremonial stool is imbued with the spiritual power or mana of those who use it, it is kept separate from utilitarian wares and carefully passed down by successive generations. The craftsmen (tu’hunga) who carve each stool from a single piece of wood play an important role as custodians of these ceremonial objects. At hierarchical gatherings, only the chief would sit on a stool: all others sat on the floor.

This is probably one of the three stools presented to Queen Elizabeth II by the People of the Cook Islands during her official visit in 1974.