Some people prefer to sleep without a pillow, and some are ready to cover the whole house with these soft things. No one knows who first decided to put some kind of pillow under his head. History is silent about that fact. But we know one thing for sure. Today we generally can’t imagine our life without this much-needed item. It is impossible to visualize how people used to sleep without pillows, and if they did, then on stone ones. It’s just not imaginable!
Pillows are one of the elements of textile interior design. There are different types of them. We sleep on some pillows, with others – decorate the sofa, and we treat ourselves with the help of the third.
The first case is about sleep pillows, the second – about decorative cushions or funny custom-shaped things like body pillows, and the third – about orthopedic pillows. We can’t say that some of these types are better, and some are worse. Each pillow has its function. Let’s find out where the history of pillows originates and where the first decorative cushions have appeared.
History of the first pillows
Throughout the history of evolution, human has strived for beauty and comfort. Nowadays, it’s hard to imagine life without such a nice interior detail and an irreplaceable household item like a pillow. Although each of us has pillows at home today, they were used only by wealthy people initially.
It will hardly be possible to determine the inventor, the exact time and place of the appearance of the first pillow. However, the prototype of this thing, like many other inventions, first appeared in Ancient Egypt. Treasured examples of ancient Egyptian pillows can still be seen in various museums around the world. But it’s hard to call them comfortable. These are wooden headrests that help not to mess up hairstyles while sleeping.
The wealthy ancient Egyptians generally tried not to pass away without a pillow. Archaeologists still find ancient Egyptian burials, where they invariably discover pillows along with many other burial accessories.
Wood, stone, porcelain bolsters had existed for a long time in China and Japan and were considered means of protection from evil spirits. In Japan, they were used until the 19th century. In China, jade pillows were especially popular with the nobility. They were carved from a stone and with a comfortable recess for the head. Soon, people rethought the purpose of the pillow, realizing that the comfort of sleep is more important than the safety of their hair.
History of the first soft pillows
The pillow in its usual form appeared in Ancient Greece. Pillows, richly and elaborately decorated, were an attribute of wealth in those days.
The bed was a cult item for the Greeks. They spent most of the day on it. Therefore, it was in Greece that soft mattresses and pillows were invented. The increasing complexity of dyes and sewing techniques led to the transformation of the cushion into a piece of art. Well-decorated pillows have become expensive merchandise.
In those days, every wealthy Greek had a pillow the size of which varied. They filled them with animal hair, grass, down, and bird feathers to make them soft. The cover was made of leather or fabric. It could be either rectangular or square.
The ancient Romans also borrowed and appreciated the wonderful features of pillows, among whom down pillows were especially honored. However, they were extremely suspicious of them at the very beginning. Geese down was used to make their favorite pillows. Military commanders released their subordinates from military service and sent them to the extraction of this very down.
History of throw pillows
As we have already found out, the first soft pillows appeared in ancient Greece. Therefore, the history of the emergence of cushions is usually associated with this period in human history. Cushions were the privilege of the wealthy class, as they were quite expensive. The East is also considered to be the birthplace of cushions.
The first semblance of sofa cushions appeared in ancient times in Asian countries. The interior of a traditional Turkish home is characterized by the absence of furniture. They eat and sleep on the floor and elongated pillows. In Lebanon, a guest room usually contained a low couch with flat cushions in brightly colored pillowcases.
The story of the sofa cushions didn’t end there. Richly decorated pillows became an expensive property – first in China and later in Medieval Europe. Each cushion was handmade and was a truly unique piece of art.
In the Middle Ages, analogs of modern sofa cushions were taken to the church and laid on benches. There was even a special kind of pillows – people put their feet on them so as not to freeze on the cold stone floors of castles. Therefore, foot pillows were so popular in those days. There were those times when people began to use cushions for prayer – they kneeled on them during long prayers. Horse riding pillows were a common thing as well and softened the saddle.
In the modern world, the production of decorative fabrics and pillows has become a mass production. Now you can purchase unique pillows from renowned designers. You can also order custom shape or personalized pillows in the form of face pillows that perfectly match your entire room decoration. The modern market and technologies offer us a great selection for every taste and budget. It remains only to choose.
Some interesting facts about pillows
- In the modern world, we can purchase not pillows on which it is easy to fall asleep only but those that can wake us up – they start vibrating slightly.
- The Japanese invented pillows for women in the shape of a male shoulder and for men – a female knee. In this way, they struggle with feelings of loneliness.
- The bronze pillow is awarded to teachers at the University of Leicester in Britain who have had the most tedious lectures.
- The pillows saved soldiers’ lives many years ago, as they used them as bulletproof vests; and during the rest hours – for their intended purpose.
- India has a legend that Buddha could recover thanks to the pillow when health and strength left him.
- In Europe, special pillows for insomnia are produced, filled with a special soothing and relaxing composition: motherwort herb, lavender, hops, valerian root, etc.
A few more words
Various styles replaced each other, sofa cushions changed, the main functions that were assigned to them changed as well. One thing remained constant: pillows always provide comfort and create additional coziness. Sofa cushions still regularly perform this essential function in our homes. So be sure to add this element of decoration to your interior design.