I just discovered the online collections at the American Museum of Natural History’s Division of Anthropology. I’ve spent hours looking through the beautiful things in them already. These ceremonial chairs are from the Mexican & Central American Ethnographic Collection. I haven’t been able to find much information on their use, but according to the catalog record, they were “acquired” on an 1898 expedition to Mexico.
If you’re interested, check out the museum’s extensive ethnographic and archeological collections. My favorite way to browse is by the Collections Thesaurus, which is like browsing through a file structure. They even have a widget you can download that shows a different object from the collections each day.
The chairs , in order:
1. Chair of Mother West-Water
2. Chair of Mother East-Water
3. Chair of Corn Mother
4. (again) Ceremonial Chair of Mother East-Water