Caned furniture and decorative objects played a significant role in the decorative arts of the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly in Europe and colonial America. Caning refers to the process of weaving chair seats and other furniture from the peeled bark or skin of the rattan vine, a material known for its flexibility, durability, and relatively lightweight.

The trend for caned furniture began in the late 17th century, but it was during the 18th and 19th centuries that it truly flourished. It was greatly influenced by the Rococo and later, the Neoclassical styles. The Rococo period, with its emphasis on light, curvilinear forms and elaborate ornamentation, found in caning a suitable medium that aligned with its aesthetics. The Neoclassical period, inspired by the aesthetics of ancient Greece and Rome, utilized caning in a more restrained, yet equally elegant manner.

The use of cane was not limited to seating furniture. It was also used in the making of bed frames, screens, and other decorative objects. Caned pieces were often combined with other materials such as hardwoods or softwoods and finished with a variety of decorative techniques such as carving, gilding, or painting.

Caned furniture was particularly popular in warmer climates due to its breathability. In colonial regions, caned furniture became a common feature in homes and public spaces due to the local availability of rattan and the suitability of caned furniture to the humid climates.

In the 19th century, the popularity of caned furniture was further boosted by the development of mechanised methods of producing caned seats, making them more affordable and widely available.


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