History of the Chair

History of the Chair

The first chair was made on the continent of Africa.  The ancient Egyptians are often credited with the development of the earliest known chairs. These chairs appear in Egyptian tomb paintings and were more like thrones, designed for the pharaohs and high-ranking officials. Elaborate in their construction, these early chairs were hand crafted of carved wood, cloth and leather.

The historical significance of African chairs clearly sheds light on the ingenuity and creativity of its early civilizations.  Africa, the cradle of civilization, has a rich history that spans thousands of years from Egypt's pyramids in North Africa to the Mali Empire's grandeur in West Africa.

In ancient Nubia, located in present-day Sudan, the Kingdom of Kush thrived as a powerful civilization. Around 1700 BCE, the Kushites developed a distinctive chair design that was functional and beautiful. Typically made from wood, with elegant, curved backs and legs, craftsmanship exhibited in these chairs showcased the sophistication of its artisans.

Zimbabwe is a remarkable example of African architectural ingenuity. Within the ruins of this ancient city, archaeologists have discovered stone thrones and seats, suggesting that chairs played a significant role in the social and political life of the Great Zimbabwe.

African chair designs were not only practical but also influenced the evolution of chairs across the globe. The intricate carvings, use of local materials and ergonomic considerations of early African chairs were a testament to the remarkable craftsmanship of the continent's artisans.

During European invasion and control of countries on the continent, they encountered African chairs and brought them back to Europe. These exotic designs had a profound impact on European furniture design.

The influence of the African chair designs on European furniture and the world continues to provide inspiration to contemporary designers highlighting the lasting impact of Africa's pioneering contributions. As we sit on chairs today, let us remember Africa's legacy and its profound influence on this essential piece of furniture.