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Masonic Armchair

Date:
1775–90
Geography:
Probably made in Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Culture:
American
Medium:
Painted mahogany, maple
Dimensions:
50 1/2 x 25 5/8 x 24 3/4 in. (128.3 x 65.1 x 62.9 cm)
Classification:
Furniture
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George M. Kaufman, 2000
Accession Number:
2000.192
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 717
The seat and legs of this example are typical of the best Boston Rococo chairs, but the back is unusual. It is made up of Masonic symbols: fluted columns (referring to King Solomon’s temple), a rusticated arch (arch of heaven), a compass and square (faith and reason), a mason’s level (equality), a serpent swallowing its tail (rebirth), and a trowel (cement of brotherly love). The chair was probably made for the senior warden of an as-yet-unidentified Massachusetts lodge.
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