Ancient Egyptian Furniture
What type and style of furniture was used by the Ancient Egyptians? As
with all societies the type and style of furniture was dictated by the
wealth of the owner. Ancient Egyptian furniture was made by skilled
carpenters in their workshops but poorer people made their own
furniture. The items of furniture which could be found in an Ancient
Egyptian home would include stools, beds, lamp stands, chests and
shrines. Only the very wealthy or royalty possessed chairs. The types
and styles of different ancient Egyptian furniture are detailed below.
- Materials used
The Ancient Egyptians used the following materials to make their
- Wood from the
- Mud from the
Nile was used to make pots and jars
- Colored fabrics
- The furniture of
wealthy Ancient Egyptians was inlaid with ebony and ivory
- Furniture was
also inlaid with Faience
(Faience was a strong greenish blue glass-like material,
consisting of crushed quartz, lime and alkali, which first
made in Predynastic Egypt)
- Faience was also
used to create glass storage jars
stones, gold, silver and bronze was also used to decorate
the fine furniture of the Pharaoh
- Furniture owned
by the elite was of the highest quality and furniture was
often veneered and painted with vibrant colors depicting
aspects of the life of the owner.
- The Ancient
Egyptian furniture of the pharaohs was also overlaid with
The most popular item of furniture used by the Ancient Egyptians were
their stools. Ancient Egyptian stools were produced in a variety of
different styles and designs and used by all classes. The stools
produced ranged from the simplest design to
beautiful, ornate carvings on the legs of the stools. The different
types of stools ranged from plain designs, flare legs and the feet of
some stools were decorated with carvings of the feet of animals. The
Ancient Egyptians also had fold up stools for extra convenience. Earthen
ware benches were also used for seating.
A chair fit for a king. Only royalty and the richest Ancient Egyptians
had chairs. The chairs consisted of low, wooden frames usually without
arms. The seats were made of plaited cord. The decoration of the chairs
was often highly ornate and inlaid and overlaid with the most precious
materials. The legs and the feet of chairs were finely carved to
resemble the such things as the paw of a lion.
The Ancient Egyptians used small tables to serve food. Larger tables,
often with just three legs, were made of wood
but were not a common feature in the ancient Egyptian home. Earthenware
platforms were built in with the house which served as a table during
the daytime and then covered in the night time and used as beds.
The beds of the poor were frequently made from just a bedding of rushing
on the floor. The earthenware platforms were also commonly used. The
wealthy had purpose made beds which were considered as status symbols.
The framework for the beds were made of the finest woods and decorated.
Most beds were designed to slope towards the feet and foot boards were
therefore added to the style. The base was made from woven rush. Pillows
were not used in Egypt. A wooden or stone headrest was preferred as a
cooler alternative. These headrests were highly ornate and occasionally
wrapped in the finest linen to add to the comfort of the owner. There
was also a version of a fold up bed which ensured that even when
travelling on a campaign the Pharaoh and other elite members of his
household would not be expected to sleep on the floor. Mosquito nets
were also known to be used similar in style to their fishing nets.
The Ancient Egyptians had no cupboards so everything was stored in
chests. As with the other pieces of Ancient Egyptian furniture the style
of the chests ranged from simple to the most ornate. The chests owned by
the poor were used to store household items and linen. The treasures of
the rich were sometimes stored in the chests which were locked with
bolts and lashed with ropes for security.
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