Decorations

Ancient Roman Decorations

Ancient Roman decorations were bright colors and minimal decorations were common in small and simple houses of ancient Rome. Decorative art and Romanesque architecture were already evident in the beautiful buildings and wealthy homes seen around 2,000 years ago. By 1200s, the wealthy and the noble were great sponsors of decorative art that saw the flourish of more frescoes and paintings, sculptures, marble and mosaic designs, fine textiles, precious jewelries, porcelains, glassware, and ornately-designed furniture which could be found in homes and palaces.

Pieces of furniture were not that much popular or in use during those times, but chests, wooden cabinets, the rare water clock, and brazier for coals came off as the basic Roman furniture in most homes then.

The highly ornate couches or lectus, where were also very popular, can be doubled as a bed and a sofa. They were made of wood with a mattress, pillows, and coverlets and designed with interwoven straps across the top, one or two arms, and a solid back. They were initially stuffed with straw, wool and feathers.

Some of the ancient doors, pillars, and floors were ornately designed. There were four-legged stools or benches common during those days of which some were foldable. The popular curule was one and it was designed with curved ivory legs and stuffed with a purple cushion. Its improved version was the straight and high-backed solium with solid arms and normally used by patrons and often referred to by old poets as the seat for kings and gods alone. Then came the armless and curved-back cathedra. Initially, only women could use it until eventually anyone else could.

Tables were designed uniquely and were either made of wood or stone and sometimes embellished with precious metal. Round tables made from the African cedar were considered the most expensive. The one-legged monopodium was used to hold a single lamp or toiletries. The rectangular abacus held dishes and often used as a sideboard, while a three-legged, bronze or marble table was called mensa delphica. Most tables had adjustable legs and a concrete one was often built for use in the dining room.

Wooden and iron-bound chests were common in every home and came in different sizes. The smaller ones, which were either made of gold or silver, were used to keep jewels. Cabinets were also made of the same materials and had intricate designs as well. Completely without locks or hinges, these cabinets held compartments but had no sliding drawers. Some were kept in the library to hold books while others were kept in the alae to contain the max masks of Roman ancestors.

Other popular house decorations or common household tools were the water clock clepsydra, which was used to mark the night and day hours and could be kept indoors, and the ornate lamps which contained olive oil or melted fat with twisted threads as wicks. In large public areas, tall stands called candelabrum were used to hold these lamps but since Romans were not natural candle-makers, these were not often used. Lastly, the brazier coals were used for burning coals and could also be found in most homes in ancient Rome.

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