Ancient history Tutankhamun 's gilded bed from the 14th century BC Early beds were little more than piles of straw or some other natural material e. An important change was raising them off the ground, to avoid drafts, dirt, and pests.
The elite of Egyptian society such as its pharaohs and queens even had beds made of wood, sometimes gilded. Often there was a head-rest as well, semi-cylindrical and made of stone , wood , or metal. Ancient Assyrians, Medes , and Persians had beds of a similar kind, and frequently decorated their furniture with inlays or appliques of metal, mother-of-pearl , and ivory. Headrest with Two Images of the God Bes , ca. Headrests like this were used in life to support the head while sleeping.
This headrest perhaps was made specifically for the tomb, since the offering prayer has been inscribed on the supporting column, although the prayer may have been added after the death of the owner. Odysseus also gives an account of how he crafted the nuptial bed for himself and Penelope , out of an ancient, huge olive tree trunk that used to grow on the spot before the bridal chamber was built.
His detailed description finally persuades the doubting Penelope that the shipwrecked, aged man is indeed her long-lost husband. Homer also mentions the inlaying of the woodwork of beds with gold , silver , and ivory.
Some spring systems can also be fine tuned by adding, removing or relocating the supports. It is light, comfortable and durable. For anyone that has pain issues from sleeping on the ground using thin camping pads, this is an awesome solution.
The Greek bed had a wooden frame, with a board at the head and bands of hide laced across, upon which skins were placed. At a later period the bedstead was often veneered with expensive woods; sometimes it was of solid ivory veneered with tortoise-shell and with silver feet; often it was of bronze.
The pillows and coverings also became more costly and beautiful; the most celebrated places for their manufacture were Miletus , Corinth and Carthage.
Folding beds, too, appear in the famous Ancient Greek vase paintings. Roman mattresses were stuffed with reeds , hay , or wool. Feathers were used towards the end of the Republic , when custom demanded luxury. Small cushions were placed at the head and sometimes at the back. The bedsteads were high and could only be ascended by the help of steps. They were often arranged for two people, and had a board or railing at the back, as well as the raised portion at the head.
The counterpanes were sometimes very costly, generally purple embroidered with figures in gold ; and rich hangings fell to the ground masking the front. The bedsteads themselves were often of bronze inlaid with silver, and Elagabalus had one of solid silver. In the walls of some houses at Pompeii bed niches are found which were probably closed by curtains or sliding partitions.
Ancient Romans had various kinds of beds for repose. In the early Middle Ages they laid carpets on the floor or on a bench against the wall, placed upon them mattresses stuffed with feathers , wool , or hair , and used skins as a covering.
Curtains were hung from the ceiling or from an iron arm projecting from the wall. Southampton Medieval Merchant's House bedroom In the 12th century, luxury increased and bedsteads were made of wood much decorated with inlaid, carved, and painted ornamentation. They also used folding beds, which served as couches by day and had cushions covered with silk laid upon leather.
At night a linen sheet was spread and pillows placed, while silk-covered skins served as coverlets. The Carolingian manuscripts show metal bedsteads much higher at the head than at the feet, and this shape continued in use until the 13th century in France, many cushions being added to raise the body to a sloping position.
In 12th-century manuscripts, the bedsteads appear much richer, with inlays, carving, and painting, and with embroidered coverlets and mattresses in harmony. Curtains were hung above the bed and a small hanging lamp is often shown. In the 14th century the woodwork became of less importance, generally being entirely covered by hangings of rich materials.
Silk , velvet , and even cloth of gold were frequently used. Inventories from the beginning of the 14th century give details of these hangings lined with fur and richly embroidered.
It was then that the Four poster bed also known as a tester bed made its first appearance, the bed being slung from the ceiling or fastened to the walls, a form which developed later into a room within a room, shut in by double curtains, sometimes even to exclude all drafts. The space between bed and wall was called the ruelle, and very intimate friends were received there.
The 14th century is also the time when feather beds became highly prized possessions. The mattresses were often filled with pea-shucks, straw, or feathers.
Cheap models with ill positioned crossbars are quite common and these compromise on comfort since one will be sleeping on something equivalent to a pull out couch with a cross bar right under their back. Generally a cot should not be any more complicated to set up than an average tent and should take about the same time to do. Some systems also allow you to adjust the supports and legs to provide additional support.
At this time great personages were in the habit of carrying most of their property about with them, including beds and bed-hangings, and for this reason the bedsteads were for the most part mere frameworks to be covered up; but about the beginning of the 16th century bedsteads were made lighter and more decorative, since the lords remained in the same place for longer periods. Modern history In the 17th century, which has been called "the century of magnificent beds", the style a la duchesse, with tester and curtains only at the head, replaced the more enclosed beds in France, though they lasted much longer in England.
Louis XIV had an enormous number of sumptuous beds, as many as being described in the inventories of his palaces. Some of them had embroideries enriched with pearls , and figures on a silver or golden ground. The great bed at Versailles had crimson velvet curtains on which "The Triumph of Venus" was embroidered. So much gold was used that the velvet scarcely showed. Napoleon I 's bed In the 18th century feather pillows were first used as coverings in Germany, which in the fashions of the bed and the curious etiquette connected with the bedchamber followed France for the most part.
The beds were a la duchesse, but in France itself there was great variety both of name and shape. The custom of the " bed of justice " upon which the king of France reclined when he was present in parliament , the princes being seated, the great officials standing, and the lesser officials kneeling, was held to denote the royal power even more than the throne. Louis XI is credited with its first use and the custom lasted till the end of the monarchy.
In the chambre de parade, where the ceremonial bed was placed, certain persons, such as ambassadors or great lords , whom it was desired to honour, were received in a more intimate fashion than the crowd of courtiers.
At Versailles women received their friends in their beds, both before and after childbirth , during periods of mourning , and even directly after marriage —in fact in any circumstances which were thought deserving of congratulation or condolence.
During the 17th century this curious custom became general, perhaps to avoid the tiresome details of etiquette. The earliest of which mention has been found belonged to Charles the Bold. They had curtains over a light framework, and were in their way as fine as the stationary beds. Iron beds appear in the 18th century; the advertisements declare them as free from the insects which sometimes infested wooden bedsteads.
Elsewhere, there was also the closed bed with sliding or folding shutters, and in England—where beds were commonly quite simple in form—the four poster was the usual citizen's bed until the middle of the 19th century.
Bed sizes Main article: Bed size Bed sizes vary considerably around the world, with most countries having their own standards and terminology. Mainland European sizes differ, not merely because of the use of the metric system. What is referred to as a "single bed" in many parts of the world may also be known in US terminology as a "twin bed.
As another example, in some cultures, the "full mattress" is referred to as a "master size bed. The bed is mentioned by Shakespeare in Twelfth Night. At each corner of the bed there was a life-sized statue of a naked woman holding a fan. When the Maharajah lay on the bed, his weight started a mechanism that made the women wave their fans.
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