It occurred to me, when writing my article on Cairo’s historical treasures, that perhaps I should articulate a series of posts that reflect my love and understanding of history. History is something I know well, although I am no true expert, and I therefore have a hand to lend in talking to you of all that I know. Thus, I will give you a rundown of the objects from history that I believe set themselves apart from all others. Those which, in my humble opinion, have special significance amongst myriad other riches.
For this item, we are jumping a century forward from the golden belt buckle in my last post. As you may be able to tell from the image, we are looking at the Throne of Weapons. It is the work of Cristovao Canhavato, a resident of Mozambique himself, and has been described as the British Museum’s most eloquent object.
I don’t necessarily agree with that sentiment; however, the throne sends a powerful message to those who observe it. Constructed with firearms recycled from across the world, the chair draws its viewer into an undeniable acceptance of how globalisation has cashed the cheques of warmongers and arms dealers on a scale hitherto undreamt of.
The guns themselves reflect those which were purchased across the world and flooded into Mozambique to arm both sides in a bloody conflicted which lasted over 15 years. The several AK-47s which are incorporated in the chair are, of course, given special significance because Mozambique’s national flag displays the very same weapon. The chair’s power is also given added impetus when you realise that chairs have a strong cultural significance in Mozambique, and others of Africa. The chair is a symbol of power.
In my opinion, although I do not believe it to be a radical one, this ‘throne’ reinforces the sentiment that the road to reaching power, and the history of the world in so many ways, has been paved with the bodies of those who have succumbed to extreme violence. From the Roman Empire, through to the 100 years war, and onto multiple campaigns of terror which have served to define the 21st century, human history is a catalogue of events in which one has taken power from another by means of violence.
Whatever the chair means to you, I’m sure you’ll agree that it deserves a place as one of the most powerful and significant pieces of art in recent history.