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ONE OF OUR FAVOURITE PIECES OF FURNITURE IS THE CHINESE DRUM GARDEN STOOL A GREAT PCE FOR ANY HOME, THESE STOOLS ADD A TOUCH OF GLAMOUR AND SOPHISTICATION FOR A VERY SMALL OUTLAY.

 

For the last few years, barrel-shaped ceramic drum garden stools have been a popular decorating accessory, adding luster, colour or texture to a space while serving as little side tables or room accents. But where do they come from, and where were they traditionally used? They come from China, and they were traditionally used in gardens. But read on to learn more about the fascinating origins of this familiar form. Believe it or not, barrel- or drum-shaped garden stools have been used in China for at least 1,000 years. They may have evolved out of the Buddhist garden tradition, where natural elements like tree stumps and smooth rocks were used as seats.

 

Traditionally, Chinese homes were built around a courtyard, and with an emphasis on landscape and gardens, so outdoor furniture was essential. By the Song Dynasty (960-1279), these types of stools were used both indoors and outdoors as casual seating. Indoor stools were typically portable and made out of wood, while outdoor furniture, needing to withstand the elements, began to be made out of stone, glazed stoneware, or porcelain.

 

The antique drum garden stools that are still extant tend to be from the late Ming Dynasty ‹ early 17th century ‹ and later, and they have a range of decoration, including fretwork, relief decoration, and pierced motifs. One common decoration is simulated nailheads, often around the upper and lower parts of the barrel form. The nailhead motif is left over from ancient Chinese drums, which had wood bodies with skins stretched over each end and affixed with nails.

 

Although these ceramic drum-shaped garden stools have been exported to the West for about 300 years, it is only since the mid-20th century that they have gained such currency in American interiors and exteriors.