The twenty-first century is the age of development. There are certain things which never seem to go out of style and continue to develop as time passes by, simply because of their high levels of usefulness to us. The chair is one such thing which may appear very basic however, its presence is there wherever people are required to sit. It would not be an exaggeration to call chair synonymous with seating. So what is the history of chair?
The chair got its name from the Latin word cathedra. The history of the chair may be traced back to as far as the Stone Age. Archaeological evidence recommends structural objects similar to chairs and benches were at the building sites belonging to the Neolithic era. It is not clear who was the first to create a chair. Originally the chair was more than just an offering of elevated seating, but more so associated with those who are of high status. The chair was used by the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. As far as its design, then it was made of wood (carved), covered with cloth or leather and relatively lower than the kind of chairs we have now. Elegant and magnificent chairs were part of these times and were associated with opulence and grandeur. The height of the chair was also related to the rank of the person, as a higher rank meant taller chair. In Egyptians families, generally it was only the head of the family who sat on a chair.
In Ancient Greece a popular type of chair was the klismos often found on painted pottery and basreliefs. The Romans later had representations of the klismos but they were copies of Greek work. The thrones of royalty could be referred to as the most majestic chairs throughout history. Medieval chairs could be associated to the time belonging to the mid sixth century when the Throne of Maximian was brought to the Ravenna cathedral. Prior to the Tang Dynasty the most popular forms of sitting in Japanese, Korean, Turkic and Tai Kadai Cultures were the seiza and lotus position upon a floor mat. Early Buddhist murals and stele from the sixth century are among the earliest depictions of the chair in China. Chairs did not become widely common in China until the twelfth century. In Europe the chair became popular due to the Renaissance and was used by anyone who had the capacity to buy it thereby moving from being a privileged object. As for America, chairs started becoming popular from somewhere around the time of the 1800’s. In America generally the chair was offered to every person in the family for dinner. The chair has come a long way from being associated with high class to becoming a popular object in the households.
For creating the first lightweight chair, typically the French are given the credit for this. The design of the chair depends upon ergonomics, the way it would be used, its weight, size, creative design and so on. The chair in present time is a generic word and encompasses a wide variety of styles like kneeling chair, arm chair, reclining chair, and so on. Chairs can be made of various materials like wood, plastic, metals, fabric, marble, cane and more. They may or may not have a cushion or arm. Some chairs could have beautiful artwork and also attractive covers. The history of the chair demonstrates how it became lighter and smaller with time.
It is mandatory to acknowledge the significance of the chair as it's impact on human life has been pivotal in carving society. Try imagining a world without chairs and you will realize how impossible modern life would be.