Fig. 16. Reconstruction drawing of the face of a Phyrgian inlaid serving stand, Tumulus P. Gordion, eighth century BCE. Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara.

Ancient furniture, like modern furniture, was most often made of wood and other organic mate­rials that are subject to decay over time. Con­sequently, archaeological finds of ancient furniture are rare. Only in Egypt, where the dry climate has helped inhibit the decay process, does buried wooden furniture commonly sur­vive. It is fortunate, then, that a number of sites in western and central Asia have yielded the remains of furniture. In many cases, these con­sist of decorative furniture fittings of ivory or bronze that had once been attached to wood frames. In a few special instances, actual pieces of wooden furniture have survived nearly intact. Beyond this, much can be understood from de­pictions of furniture in ancient near eastern art and references to furniture in ancient texts. From these incomplete but informative sources, a history of furniture in the ancient Near East can be reconstructed.

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