"Butterfly" Stool

Designer: Sori Yanagi (Japanese, Tokyo 1915–2011 Tokyo)

Manufacturer: Tendo Co., Ltd.

Date: Designed 1954; manufactured 1987

Medium: Rosewood, stainless steel

Dimensions: 15 1/4 x 16 5/8 x 12 in. (38.7 x 42.2 x 30.5 cm)

Classification: Furniture

Credit Line: Gift of Tendo Co., Ltd., 1988

Accession Number: 1988.195


Ease of travel in the jet age encouraged a growing fusion of cultural influences after World War II. Although Yanagi's stool was designed and manufactured in Japan, it employs Western form (the stool) and material (bentwood). Its calligraphic elegance, however, suggests a distinctly Asian sensibility despite the rarity of such seating furniture in traditional Japanese culture. The stool is made from two curving and inverted L-shaped rosewood sections, each forming one leg and half of the seat. A metal rod midway between the legs serves as a stretcher and holds the stool together.