21 in. x 18 in. x 18 in. (53.34 cm x 45.72 cm x 45.72 cm)
Bryn Mawr College
Deanery.493 (Deanery Number)
Furnishings and Furniture; Furniture; Table
Bryn Mawr College, Wyndham Alumnae House, 1st Floor
Small wooden stool or table (tabouret) with marble and mother of pearl inlay. The roughly barrel-shaped tabouret stands on four small T-shaped feet. The tabouret has four main supports that create the barrel shape connected by lobed cross-pieces. The center of the tabouret is hollow. The supports and the area above them are decorated in elaborate vegetal mother of pearl inlay. Just below the top is a frieze of mother of pearl dots. The top of the tabouret is flat and inlaid with a circle of pink marble surrounded by more mother of pearl vegetal inlay.
The elaborate vegetal inlay is inspired by Japanese art. Increased interest in and inspiration from Japanese art in the 19th century can be connected with the shift in social, economic, and political relations between America and Japan. From 1633-1853, Japan’s strict isolationist policy limited contact with foreigners. Over the course of 1853-1854, however, an American embassy coerced the Japanese government to adopt a treaty that would open Japan to foreigners. The influx of Japanese goods after the treaty exposed American artists to Japanese art and design. An example of the incorporation of these new artistic influences is the work of the American artist, Lockwood de Forest (1850-1932), at Bryn Mawr’s Deanery. The celebrated Blue Room in particular had gold designs that de Forest stenciled on the ceiling reminiscent of Japanese textiles, and the spiked flowers of the Japanese pagoda tree were the model for the stencil designs on the sofa and daybed.
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- Any process by which small pieces of one material are inserted into a larger piece of another so as to create a design.
mother of pearl
- Hard, pearly, iridescent internal layer of various kinds of mollusk shell, extensively used for making small articles and inlays.
- Refers to low seats or stools, without back or arms, often used for a child or as a footstool. It was originally in the shape of a drum, thus the name (from the diminutive of the French "tambour," for drum). In the 18th century the term was applied to any low stool with fixed upright legs, as distinct from "pliants," which had folding crossed legs. 18th-century tabourets were rectangular, not drum-shaped, with upholstered seats. For similar seats supported on six or more legs, use "banquettes (benches)."
- Wood of the species Tectona grandis, native to south and southeast Asia, including India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Myanmar; it is cultivated in many additional areas, including Africa and the Caribbean. Teak is a golden brown wood with a straight grain and coarse texture, very resistant to insects and decay. It is used for high quality furniture, boxes, chests, doors, shipbuilding, railway carriages, veneer, and in India also for building houses. Teak wood retains an aromatic leathery smell for over a hundred years or more.