Exploring the Origins of Furniture: From Ancient Egypt to the Italian Renaissance

The word furniture comes from French fourniture which means equipment & it's considered a form of decorative art & can be product of artistic design & serve symbolic or religious purpose.

Exploring the Origins of Furniture: From Ancient Egypt to the Italian Renaissance
The word furniture comes from the French fourniture, which means equipment. The English word Furniture is derived from the French word fourniture, the noun form of fournir, which means to supply or provide. Therefore, furniture in French means supplies or provisions. The use in English, which refers specifically to household objects, is specific to that language; French and other Romance languages, as well as German, use variants of the word meubles, which derives from the Latin mobilia, which means movable property. Furniture is considered a form of decorative art and can be the product of artistic design. It may also serve a symbolic or religious purpose. In conjunction with furnishings such as clocks and lighting, domestic furniture works to create comfortable and convenient interior spaces. The practice of using natural objects as rudimentary furniture probably dates back to the beginning of human civilization. Early humans are likely to have used tree stumps as seats, rocks as rudimentary tables, and mossy areas for sleeping. During the late Paleolithic or early Neolithic period, for about 30,000 years, people began to build and carve their own furniture, using wood, stone and animal bones. The earliest evidence of the existence of constructed furniture is a figure of Venus found at the site of Gagarino in Russia, depicting the goddess seated on a throne. The stone dressers were regarded as the most important as it symbolically faces the entrance in each house and is therefore the first item seen when entering, perhaps displaying symbolic objects, including decorative artwork such as several Neolithic Carved Stone Balls also found at the site. A similar statue of a seated woman was found in Catal Huyuk in Turkey, dating from 6000 to 5500 BC. C. The inclusion of such a seat in the figures implies that these were already common artifacts of that time. A range of unique stone furniture has been excavated in Skara Brae, a Neolithic village in Orkney, Scotland. The site dates from 3100 to 2500 BC. C., and due to the scarcity of wood in Orkney, the inhabitants of Skara Brae were forced to build with stone, a readily available material that could be easily worked and turned into items for use inside the home. Each home displays a high degree of sophistication and was equipped with a wide variety of stone furniture, ranging from cabinets, vanities and beds to shelves, stone seats and limpet tanks. Civilization in ancient Egypt began with the cleaning and irrigation of the land along the banks of the Nile River, which began around 6000 BC. By then, Nile Valley society was already involved in organized agriculture and in the construction of large buildings. In this period, the Egyptians in the southwest corner of Egypt were herding cattle and also building large buildings. The mortar was in use around 4000 BC. Recovered ancient Egyptian furniture includes a third millennium B. C. E bed discovered in the Tarkhan Tomb, a c. 2550 B. C. E gilded set from the tomb of Queen Hetepheres, and a c. 1550 B. C. E stool from Thebes. Ancient Greek furniture design beginning in the second millennium B. C. E., including beds and the klismos chair were also found at this time period.

The inhabitants of the Nile Valley and Delta were self-sufficient; growing barley and emery (an early variety of wheat) and storing it in pits covered with reed mats; raising cattle; goats; pigs; weaving sheets; baskets; and creating evidence of furniture from Predynastic period is scant but samples from First Dynasty tombs indicate an already advanced use of furniture in houses at that time.

Along with other arts; Italian Renaissance during 14th and 15th centuries marked a revival in design; often inspired by Greco-Roman tradition.

A similar explosion of design and revival of culture occurred in northern Europe; starting 15th century.

Rococo console from 18th century; gilded carved wood; marble top; 63.2 × 60 × 25.4 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art is an example.

Gothic chest from late 15th century; wood; 30.2 x 29.2 x 39.4 cm; Metropolitan Museum of Art is another example.

Treasure chest with a sacrifice of Jupiter represented inside; 1st century AD; wood; iron and bronze with miniature from Pompeii National Archaeological Museum is another example.

Cassone (chest) from c 1550-1560 carved partially gilded walnut 86 4 x 181 9 x 67 3 cm Metropolitan Museum Art is another example.

Rococo chest art by Charles Cressent c 1745-1749 pine oak veneered with amaranth bois satin walnut oak Metropolitan Museum Art is another example.