Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary ................ Furniture - Legs / Feet / Stretchers

Animal legs / Drum

[In Egypt] ... the basic design of fixed stools, side chairs, and armchairs was similar. Animal legs, either lions or panthers, terminated into a paw foot that rested on a block of tapering wood referred to as a drum.

Historians believe that the use of the drum dates back to a period before plaster floors were commonly used in Old Kingdom palaces. As previously mentioned, animals either represented spiritual beings or were believed to possess supernaturalpowers. Egyptians hypothesized that these virtues were conveyed from thegod or animal to the sitter. In this case, it was necessary to raise the paw above the straw-covered dirt floor, since the leg form symbolically transferred the power of the lion to the seated pharaoh.

Even after more advanced floor covering methods developed, the drum remained at the base of the leg and foot as a design characteristic. Furniture designers from the Greek and Roman periodscontinued to use the animal leg as a symbol of power, but without the drum.

Greek tripod tables (usually used for serving wine) had legs carved into animal leg and paw foot designs modified from ancient Egyptian prototypes with the introduction of duck heads and acanthus leaves.

- Treena Crochet, Designer's Guide to Furniture Styles," pub. 2204, pp.12, 47

Dophins: The dophins used on Empire furniture are fish, not animals. Note the use of scales. There are dolphions, however, that are animals. Cf., boys riding dolphins in Greek statuary.

See also types of animal feet: paw foot ... lion's paw feet ... hoof feet ..... monopodium

Photos and their arrangement © 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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