A FINE SRI LANKAN SATINWOOD AND LEATHER 'BURGOMASTER' CHAIR

 

Sri Lanka, third-quarter 18th century

 

On six lion-claw feet and curved legs, connected with wing-motif and scrolling acanthus, above which the circular seat with later leather, the curved back splat with three openwork-carved medallions, the seat rotates.

 

H. 82.5 x W. 80 cm
Seat height 46 cm

Note:
The origins of these round, six-legged chairs is unknown. In the Dutch East Indies, it was usually known as the “koningsstoel” (king’s chair). The now-common name of burgomaster (burgemeester) chair may be of English origin. Perhaps in the opinion of the English, Dutch VOC officials/burgomasters were so corpulent that they needed a chair with six legs. Anyway, the burgomaster chair was immensely popular among the Dutch as well as the English in Asia.

In contrast to the early 17th century plain model, the 18th-century burgomaster chairs have carvings inside the oval medallions and on the knees of the cabriole legs. Occasionally, as in the present example, the seat and back can rotate on the base and the finials are in the form of a small human, judge’s or burgomaster’s, heads.