Form + Function = Armrest

When I visited the NGV recently I was struck by this elegant little piece of furniture. What a strange shape. Then I realised it was an armrest. Of course. You need an armrest while seated on your matted floor in you traditional Japanese house.

What an exquisite piece of lacquerware from the 19th century. Over time the red lacquer is intended to rub away revealing the black lacquer underneath.

| Armrest, 19th century, Japan, lacquer on wood (Negoro lacquer), National Gallery of Victoria |

Here is another example of an armrest. A very snazzy armrest.

| Yoshitoshi Tsukioka, 1886, detail, A women saving the nation, colour and silver woodblock, National Gallery of Victoria |

Julia Ritson

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