So today I am starting a series of postings on the history of furniture. Design is everywhere, and ideas can come from anywhere. When you start to look at the history of furniture design you can start to see the impact of this history on current design, not only of furniture, but fabrics, clothing and a myriad of other things.
We are going to start way, way back there in 4,000 BC with Ancient Egypt.
It was the belief of the ancient Egyptians that possessions could be used in the afterlife. As a result, the rich and the pharaohs were buried with many of their possessions, most of which had never been used and were meant only for the afterlife. Much of what we know of furniture from this period comes from what was preserved in the tombs.
• Wood was the material of choice; however, the Egyptians had to import most of the wood from areas around the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia. Acacia wood was the most prominent locally available wood used in furniture production.
Typical Ornamentation and Motifs:
• Inlay- ivory or exotic woods such as boxwood
• Gilding- using both gold and silver and typically used on boxes
• Low-relief carving and painting over gesso
• Religious and mythological symbols such as the ankh and the sun disc
Typical construction methods:
• Mortise-and-tenon and dovetail joints
• Leather webbing on seats and around joints to add strength
• Early tables and stools had three legs for stability
Typical Furniture Forms
• The stool was used for seating and also for ceremonies
• Chairs had directional legs and the size of the back of the chair was a symbol of the rank of the chair owner