These backless seats were also used as thrones, albeit very ornately sculpted. A throne was not sufficient to make a king: the officials of the kingdom, who had assisted at the death and the burial of the previous king, were the only ones entitled to seat the new ruler on his throne, after a series of esoteric rituals. Wars have been waged over the theft of a throne. During journeys, a servant followed the king, carrying his travel seat, lighter than his usual one. Around a king, people either sat on the ground or stood up, while he sat on his personal seat and nothing else.
The common mortal, of course, can also own his seat, as long as the model is appropriate for his social rank. The higher the tribal rank, the more prestigious and elaborate the seat. The most talented sculptors were chosen for this type of work. The sculptor chose an appropriate tree trunk and worked on it in the same way as a canoe, by setting a fire in a hole in the middle of both sides. He then worked on the wood through the hollow made by the heat. When professions were still easy to describe, the owner’s profession or special skill would be showcased in the sculpture of the bench. In later days, the owner’s name was often sculpted into the seat.
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