Egyptian influence can be traced in some of the early pieces of furniture, an example being a type of chair having a single leg with a lions head at the top and a single paw at the bottom. This also was to be a favourite theme of the Empire style. In the hellenistic period (32330 bc domestic comfort and decoration were considered once more. Mosaic floors were an important decorative device, originally made of pebbles as at Olynthus but later developing into the black-and-white or coloured mosaics that were widely used throughout the roman Empire (see the article mosaic ). A central, finely designed panel with realistic motifs and a wide, more coarsely executed border of scroll or key patterns acted as a focus for the arrangement of furniture, which was still limited in quantity. Much more is known about Roman interior decoration, and Roman furniture was based on earlier Greek models. From the beginning of the Christian era the predominant Western style was that derived from ancient Greece by way of Rome.
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Excavations have proved the existence of an advanced sanitary system, with baths either of marble or terra-cotta. A period of so-called dark ages in Greece followed the destruction of Knossos. 1400 bc, but Cretan civilization had already influenced the mainland before then. Small terra-cotta models of furniture and fragments of tables and chairs dating from as early as 1350 bc have been found. Homers epic Odyssey, dating from the 9th8th century bc, speaks of a chair inlaid with ivory and silver, and sheet copper was used to sheathe beams books and architraves. The description of a bed reveals it to have been a rectangular wooden frame with coloured leather thonging, like the usual Egyptian bed, and inlaid with silver and ivory. At this time also, wooden vessels were decorated with sheet-gold ornament with repoussé work (ornament in relief made by hammering the reverse side). Little or no Greek furniture survives from the classical period (5th century bc but there is ample evidence that it was well constructed and elaborately decorated. The large number of surviving painted vases are a valuable source of information about many aspects of Greek life, and furniture of all kinds—chairs, tables, day couches used for dining, and a large number of accessories—can be identified. These paintings, in fact, were among the major influences on the French Empire style of the early years of the 19th century.
Bc) gives evidence of a small but sophisticated society with a taste for luxury and entertainment and a corresponding skill in applied decoration. Frescoes (paintings executed with water soluble pigments on wet plaster) and some panels of painted relief decorated the walls of living rooms and ceremonial rooms, which were grouped asymmetrically round a series of courtyards (see photograph). Many aspects of Cretan life were depicted, the recurring theme being the acrobatic bullfighting on which a religious cult was probably centred. Even the backgrounds first of friezes and panels, which depicted many-coloured painted birds, animals, and flowers, were given an effect of movement, being divided into light and dark areas. Plain dadoes and borders provided an effective foil and gave articulation to the interiors. As seafarers, the Cretans could import a rich variety of materials for building and decorative purposes; a wealth of ideas can be seen in the fine pottery, carved ivories, and beaten gold, silver, and bronze with which their palaces were ornamented. The pottery and metalwork of the minoans was technically in advance of other Mediterranean peoples of the time, and they were especially expert in firing such large pottery objects as storage jars and baths. Some furniture, especially storage chests, was made of terra-cotta. A chalice made of obsidian, a volcanic glass about as hard as jade, could only have been shaped by grinding with an abrasive such as emery procured from Cape Emeri on the island of Náxos; the form was apparently based on metalwork.
Carved stone slabs were used as flooring, with typical Mesopotamian rosette and palmette (stylized palm leaf) borders. Occasionally, egyptian lotus motifs also appear. Vigorous and warlike figures characterize both Assyrian and Babylonian work, and the standard of execution was extremely high. Naturalistic detail was often engraved on the surface of the figures and animals, which themselves were in relief. After the persian guaranteed conquest (539331 bc) this vigour declined. The palaces built by the persian kings Darius and Xerxes i at Persepolis show a lighter use of animal figures. Glazed and enamelled tiles were used on the walls, while timber roof beams and ceilings were painted in vivid colours. Crete The most important buildings of the pre-hellenic Minoan and Mycenaean periods were the citadel complexes, housing the entire court of the ruler. The palace of King Minos at Knossos in Crete (.
Furniture mounts of bronze and ivory have been excavated, however, and fragments of furniture were uncovered in the royal tombs at the city of Ur, in ancient Sumer. In quality of craftsmanship and decoration, mesopotamian furniture was comparable to that of Egypt. The mud-brick houses of the sumerian and Old Babylonian periods in the tigris-Euphrates valley resembled their modern counterparts in their rectangular outline and the groupings of rooms about a central court, which was either roofed or open. In most houses, decoration probably was confined to a wide black or dark-coloured skirting painted in diluted pitch with a band of some lighter colour above. Door frames were sometimes painted red, probably as a protection against evil influences, and where doors were used they may have been of palm wood. The poorer houses were simply whitewashed. In the most elaborate Assyrian palaces the main decorative features were panels of alabaster and limestone carved in relief, the principal subjects being hunting, ceremonial, and war, as in the palace of the warrior king Sargon ii at Khorsabad (705 bc). Panels and friezes of ceramic tiles in vivid colours decorated the walls inside and out, and it is evident that this brilliance of colour was a feature of much Assyrian and Babylonian decoration (see photograph).
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The palace of the pharaoh Akhenaton and other large houses at Tell el-Amarna (. 1365 bc) reflect a tendency toward naturalism in their ornamentations. Akhenaton, his queen Nefertiti, and their daughters are frequently represented, usually grouped affectionately together. Other painted panels show animals and birds with twining borders of vegetation. Molded, coloured, glazed ware was introduced to give a brilliant inlay of grapes, poppies, cornflowers, and daisies, all in natural colours. The use of square ceramic tiles as a wall surfacing was uncommon but not unknown.
Primary colours were the most common, a brilliant yellow being among the most frequently used, but terra-cotta, gray, black, and white were all added to give contrast. Even floors were delicately painted to represent gardens or pools. One english of these at Tell el-Amarna shows a rectangular tank with swimming fish and waterfowl, bordered with lotus and papyrus marshland, with an outer band showing more birds and young cattle in the meadows beyond. Furniture ranged from the simplest benches and ceramic pots to beautifully designed chairs, small tables, and beds in the homes of the rich, where many vases, urns, ceramic, wood, and metal utensils evince a fastidious, luxurious way of life. Mesopotamia very little furniture survives from ancient Mesopotamia, principally because climatic conditions are not conducive to the preservation of wood. What is known has been learned principally from reliefs and cylinder seals.
It is in such furniture that decoration is first seen—in the leg of the bull and the lion employed as a furniture support, especially for beds. It is from this point in the ancient past that the development of interior design can be traced historically. Interior design in the west Ancient world In contrast with the monumental tombs and temples of stone, many of which remained intact to the 20th century, egyptian houses were built of perishable materials, and, therefore, few remains have survived. Sun-dried or kiln-burnt mud bricks were used for the walls; floors consisted of beaten earth, and a thin coat of smooth mud plaster was often used as an internal wall finish. In its simplest form the applied decoration was a plain white or coloured wash, but, in larger houses, patterns in varying degrees of elaboration were painted on the plaster. Rush matting was hung across most internal door openings and used as screening inside the small, high windows.
It is probable that decorative wall hangings and floor coverings were made of rushes or palmetto woven into a pattern, since painted representations of such hangings have survived from 5th-dynasty tombs at Saqqārah. In the workmens village of Kahun, built in the 12th dynasty (. 1900 bc some of the more well-to-do houses contained rooms decorated with brown-painted skirting, one foot (0.3 metre) high, then a four-foot (1.2-metre) dado (the lower portion of wall that is decorated differently from that above it) striped vertically in red, black, and white. Above this the walls were buff coloured with brightly painted decorative panels in the more important rooms, and ceilings were also often of painted wood. It may be assumed that the lavish tomb decoration of all periods was basically derived from the domestic interiors of their time. Many Egyptian decorative motifs are stylized from natural forms associated with the life-giving Nile. The lotus bud and flower, the papyrus, and the palm appear constantly with borders of checkered patterns or coiled, ropelike spirals, giving an air of space and elegance.
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Since most of these patterns—especially those to be found in basketry and textiles—bear no resemblance to natural forms, they probably arose from the nature of the techniques employed in making the objects in question. Ornament based on natural objects more or less realistically depicted probably had a magical connotation; animals, for instance, are intended to promote success in hunting. Even the most abstract and geometric of motifs have a symbolic meaning, which can be interpreted by those who know the key, and this meaning is almost always magical. There are few objects or motifs that do not have some meaning, and the making of objects that have no other purpose than the pleasure taken by their creator in executing them is very rare. Origins in Western antiquity, excavations salon in ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt suggest that the earliest equivalent of furniture consisted summary of platforms of bricks, which served as chairs, tables, and beds, no doubt spread with textiles or animal skins. There is also good reason to think that walls were painted and, in the case of more important buildings, decorated with mural paintings. Movable furniture first occurred only in the most important residences, such as palaces, and in public buildings. Furniture is of considerable antiquity, though it is known, for the most part, only from wall paintings, sculpture, and vase paintings. Some furniture survives from ancient Egyptian tombs from about 3000 bc in the form of beds, chairs, tables, and storage chests.
Hunting peoples living in caves decorated the walls with paintings as early as 20,000 years ago, but these were almost certainly votive paintings rather than decoration, and no trace of movable furniture has survived. Although the practices of present-day primitive peoples sometimes shed light on the historical origins of those practices, there is too little art and decoration in such communities today to illuminate the beginnings of interior decoration. No clear-cut progressions of styles, like those that occurred in Europe, can be identified except among peoples who could hardly be regarded as primitive, such as the former civilizations. South America or the benin culture of Africa. Nevertheless, even the poorest and most primitive peoples devote some time to the production of works that give them pleasure, and these works often are employed to decorate interiors. Primitive painting often consists of a series of abstract patterns, such as that on the pottery resume of the. Furniture, such as wooden stools, usually has some ornamental carving. Basketwork, wooden vessels, and pottery are decorated with abstract geometrical patterns, and an insistence on symmetry is the rule.
original purpose; and the division of the arts by museum curators into the fine arts and the decorative (or industrial) arts has helped to obscure the original functions. To some extent the present attitude has resulted from the rise of the specialist collector since the 1840s. Porcelain and silver, for instance, no longer fulfill their original purpose as part of the household furnishings but are collected into cabinets, since they are so precious. Similarly, the small porcelain figures of meissen, which were originally part of a table decoration and an integral part of a service, are now too highly valued to be so used. The notion of interior design historically has arisen as part of a settled agricultural way of life. The tents of nomadic peoples were hardly suitable for the more permanent forms of decoration. Among Central Asian nomads, however, carpets and rugs have been employed to decorate and provide comfort in tents and portable dwellings, usually taking the form of coverings for floor and bed, and these have been the principal form of art of the peoples concerned. The oldest nomadic carpet, found in Central Mongolia, dates to the 5th century bc, but geometrically patterned stone reliefs from Assyria in the 7th century bc are thought to be based on earlier carpet patterns.
Murals were painted on a diversity of subjects; during the period of the baroque style in the 17th century, murals sometimes were painted to look like an extension of the interior itself, making it appear more spacious. Mirrors were employed for the same purpose of adding space to an interior. The deliberate use of antiques as decoration was unusual in most periods. Generally, in older houses elements of the previous decorative database scheme were relegated to less important rooms when new decoration was undertaken to bring an old interior into line with current fashion. In this way many antiques have been preserved. The art market has existed from the earliest times for the purpose of providing both new and antique works for the decoration of interiors, but in early times the market in old work was usually limited to paintings by admired masters and goldsmiths work. Only within the recent historic past have any interiors but those belonging to the rich and powerful been considered worthy of consideration.
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Origins of interior design, the art of interior design encompasses all of the fixed and movable ornamental objects that form an integral part of the inside of any human habitation. It is essential to remember that much of what today is classified as art and exhibited in galleries and museums was originally used to furnish interiors. Paintings were usually ordered by size and frequently by subject from a painter who often practiced other forms of art, friend including furniture design and decoration. Sculptors in stone or bronze were often goldsmiths who did a variety of ornamental metalwork. The more important artists had studios with assistants and apprentices and often signed cooperative work. Many architects also designed interiors, including the accessories— furniture, pottery, porcelain, silver, rugs, and tapestries. Paintings often took the form of cabinet pictures, framed to be hung on a wall in a particular position, such as over a door.