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Shaker ladder-back chair

Place Made:
South Union Kentucky United States of America
Date Made:
HOA: 37 ½”; WOA: 18 ½”; DOA: 15 ½”
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Shaker ladder-back side chair with three arched slats; backposts with “egg and cup” finials; all posts taper at feet; each front post is stamped with the number “15”, most likely corresponding to a room number of one of South Union’s four communal dwelling houses; two stretchers each on front and sides, one stretcher in back; seat of woven rivercane, upper side features a distinctive chevron pattern, not found on any other extant South Union chairs, lower side has a more standard herringbone pattern.

This weaving pattern is unique among South Union and other Shaker communities’ chair traditions; it closely resembles Southeastern Native American basketry traditions and raises questions about how these Shaker members may have encountered Native American weaving techniques and why this group, otherwise known for their “simple” furniture, chose to use this more decorative pattern in their seating furniture.

Credit Line:
Gift of