Story behind Cushions

Cute Decorative Geometrically Patterned Soft Velvet Cushion Cover 800x800 - home-decor - Story behind Cushions

Etymology of word ,,cushions”

The word cushion comes from Middle English cushin, from Anglo-French cussin, quissin, based on a Latin word meaning ‘cushion for the hip’, from coxa‘hip, thigh’. The Romans also had a word cubital ‘elbow cushion’, from cubitus ‘elbow’.  The first known use of the word cushion was in the 14th century.

cushion is a soft furry bag of some ornamental material, stuffed with wool, hair, feathers, polyester staple fiber, non-woven material, or even paper torn into fragments. It may be used for sitting or kneeling upon, or to soften the hardness or angularity of a chair or couch. Decorative cushions often have a patterned cover material, and are used as decoration for furniture.

Cushions through the history

The cushion is a very ancient article of furniture; the inventories of the contents of palaces and great houses in the early Middle Ages constantly made mention of them. Cushions were then often of great size, covered with leather, and firm enough to serve as a seat, but the steady tendency of all furniture has been to grow smaller with time.

Nowadays, cushions are an everyday luxury, used to bring colour and comfort to the home.  But they started as true luxury item, available only to the wealthiest.

Cushions from the Egyptian period are best known for being wooden or stone headrests. This is, essentially, what cushions were to the Egyptians – raised platforms for the head. Most famously, these hard cushions have been found in the tombs of Egypt, supporting the heads of mummies.

Tutankhamun headrest - home-decor - Story behind Cushions
Tutankhamun headrest

In Europe, the tradition of cushion usage derived from the classical Greek and Roman usage. These cultures, having taken a long hard look at the wooden cushions of Egyptian times and the fact they mostly seemed to support the head of dead people, decided to make something more comfortable. Stuffing their cushions with straw, feathers and reeds, they created cushions akin to those we still use today. They had large cushions for reclining on smaller cushions for chairs, cushions for sleeping. 

roman cushions - home-decor - Story behind Cushions
How Roman used cushions

Like many everyday items that were once luxuries, cushions began to appear throughout middle class homes during the 19th century. The industrial revolution brought about efficiencies in weaving, dying and fabric that began to make once luxury cushions available to a wider audience. 

In Victorian Britain, cushions played a traditional role of adding comfort and style to the bedroom, couches and chairs.

victorian cats for web 2 - home-decor - Story behind Cushions

Victorian kitten silk cushion

During the 20th century, cushion usage became more experimental and wider. In these days  cushions can be found in different shapes, sizes, with different pattern and their usage is more  ,,decorative”,  to add colour, texture and pattern to our living rooms and bedrooms.

Funda de coj n gris con estampado de doble cara funda de coj n para decoraci 800x800 - home-decor - Story behind Cushions
Modern cushions

We hope that you liked this interesting things about cushions. In next article we will write more about modern use of cushions.

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5 thoughts on “Story behind Cushions

    • Marko says:

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