The origin of…Chair

“A true friend encourages us, comforts us, supports us like a big easy chair, offering us a safe refuge from the world.” H. Jackson Brown, Jr.


In Ancient Egypt chairs were made of carved wood and were covered with cloth or leather. They were much lower than the chairs we use today. Chairs were richly adorned with patterns and the legs were representations of the legs of beasts. Chairs were not for the ordinary people, only for higher ranked persons. The pharaoh sat on a throne on state occasions.

In Rome, the bed was the piece of furniture that was used not only as a place to sleep, but to eat, read, write, and socialize. Chairs such as the upright thronus and the reclined cathedra were used for formal functions and lounging women, respectively.

Before the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) people in China, Japan, Korea and other countries in Central and Southeast Asia sat on the floor or on sitting mats. The earliest images of chairs in China are from sixth-century Buddhist murals and stele, but the practice of sitting in chairs at that time was uncommon.

In Europe people sat people sat on benches, stools and chests instead of on chairs until the 16th century. Only priests and kings sat on chairs. During the Renaissance the use of chairs became more standard. As chairs became more common, they also became lighter and smaller. Meanwhile, in ascertaining the divine authority of royalty of the 17th century, the thrones of royalty like Louis XIV, Queen Christina of Sweden, and Alexis I of Russia were magnificent and majestic. In the court of Louis XIV, in particular, the hierarchy of chairs was strictly regulated. The most important being the armchair—a term first used in this century, followed in order by the chair with a back, stools, and hassocks. However, in the king’s presence most people had to remain standing (Crantz, 1998).

In the 20th century the design of chairs was influenced by various artistic movements, among which Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Bauhaus and Modernism. A few of the most iconic chairs of the 20th century include the Lounge Chair & Ottoman by Charles & Ray Eames, the LC4 Chaise Longue designed by Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris (Le Corbusier), the Egg Chair designed by Arne Jacobsen, the Barcelona Chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the.

1. a seat for one person that has a back and usually four legs
2. the person who is the leader of a department at a college or university
3. the person who is the leader of a meeting, organization, committee, or event (source: Merriam Webster)

The English word chair comes from Old French chaiere, chair/seat/throne”, from Latin cathedra, seat.
Dutch stoel comes from Old High German stuol, from Proto-Germanic *stōlaz, from Proto-Indo-European *steh₂-, to stand (up).
Spanish silla comes from Latin sella, chari/seat, from sedes, chair/seat/settlement.
Italian sedia has the same origin.

Chair in other languages:
Dutch: de stoel
Spanish: la silla
Italian: la sedia


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