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Unknown Artist


Teakwood, pink marble, mother-of-pearl

21 in. x 18 in. x 18 in. (53.34 cm x 45.72 cm x 45.72 cm)
Bequest of M. Carey Thomas, President of Bryn Mawr College, 1894-1922

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: W.54
Other Number(s): Deanery.493 (Deanery Number)
Geography: Asia, China
Classification: Furnishings and Furniture; Furniture; Table
Culture/Nationality: Chinese
Collection: Deanery Collection
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.

Bryn Mawr College, Wyndham Alumnae House, 1st Floor

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<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Tabouret |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=1/21/2022 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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