Window blinds have been used for thousands of years. Although they started out as purely functional tools, they have transformed to being a combination of style and function. But to understand how window blinds have become what they are today, you must first understand how they began and why they were used.
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It’s believed that wealthy ancient Egyptians, like pharaohs, had woven blinds made from reeds. This was done mainly to limit the view from outsiders. Privacy is still a common reason window blinds are used today. These reed blinds probably also helped keep out some of the heat and the extreme, blinding sunlight, keeping the Egyptian elite more comfortable throughout the long Egyptian summers and dry during their harsh monsoon season.
The Chinese have used bamboo blinds for many centuries. While many think bamboo blinds or shades are a modern option, they are rooted in Chinese cultural history. The ancient Chinese used them to keep the interiors of their homes cool during the summer. Chinese bamboo blinds were expertly crafted, not haphazardly thrown together.
It’s been said that bamboo blinds became a symbol for the powerful in ancient Korea. This symbol came from one ruler who couldn’t rule without the help of wife. Because of that, he concealed her behind bamboo blinds while she gave him wise advice to make him a great, powerful leader.
Photo Credit: American Gallery
It’s argued that Venetian blinds actually didn’t come from Venice originally. They’re believed to have come from Persia, by way of Venice. Just like with all other ancient window blinds, they started as providing privacy and another barrier against nature. Then, they morphed into something more aesthetically pleasing and stylish. In J.L. Gerome Ferris’ 1787 painting called, “The Visit of Paul Jones to the Constitutional Convention,” you can actually see wooden venetian blinds on the top window.
Modern window blinds have come a long way, both in style and functionality, but their history is rich. It will be exciting to see how window blinds improve and morph as years and generations pass.
Reference List: History Myths Debunked Blog, Infographic Journal, and Beautify Your Home Blog