Rattan

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Frame drum
1981.779

Description

Any tall, slender stem from climbing palms of the genera Calamus, Plectomia, Desmoncus, or Daemonorops native to tropical Asia. Rattan stems are long, tough, flexible and durable. They are split lengthwise and woven shiny side up to make the backs and seats of chairs, umbrella handles, whips, baskets and baby carriage bodies. Rattan caning became popular about 1660 in England and was widely used during the Victorian period. Rattan has also been used for papermaking in the far East.

Melanisian mask
MFA# 1991.1072

Synonyms and Related Terms

rottan; cane; caning; canework; Calamus; Plectomia; Desmoncus; Daemonorops; ratán (Esp.)

Resources and Citations

  • Fairchild's Dictionary of Textiles, Phyllis G.Tortora, Robert S. Merkel (eds.), Fairchild Publications, New York City, 7th edition, 1996
  • G.S.Brady, Materials Handbook, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1971 Comment: p. 654
  • Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia, Douglas M. Considine (ed.), Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 1976
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998
  • Tom Rowland, Noel Riley, A-Z Guide to Cleaning, Conserving and Repairing Antiques, Constable and Co., Ltd., London, 1981
  • Silvie Turner, Which Paper?, Design Press, New York, 1991

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