The History of Room Dividers
Since ancient times the eastern cultures have thought of the efficient way of managing their spaces through the use of room dividers. Dating back centuries ago the first room divider originates around 2400 years ago in China. Their main function was to both split a specific area as well as decorate it beautifully. In ancient times, only the most successful part of the population was able to afford them as they were considered a work of art. Unlike the flexibility of room dividers in modern times, their ancient predecessors were huge, quite sizeable, often weighted a lot and were simply unable to move as it was too difficult, making them stagnant at a specific place.
The Development of Room Dividers
As time passed, the Japanese quickly “stole” the mesmerising interior item and managed to improve it. Just two centuries later they introduced a variety of different folding screens. They were quite portable, and their weight was much lighter, due to the new materials which the Japanese produced the room dividers from. That allow for the screens to be flexible and portable, easy to move per the convenience of the customers. They were widely spread among the public in both private events such as tea ceremonies as well as public performances, used as theatre decoration allowing the stage to be split between the actors to show different actions. The latter is still often utilised even in modern days as it allows splitting the story lines for the audience.
How were they able to transform the room divider, you might think? It was quite simple. The Japanese used a strong core for the foundation of the decoration and then covered it with layers of different materials, most common was paper, which was tightly bound together to improve its quality. That enabled to remove the gaps between the panels and made the room divider much lighter, as it was no longer built with such massive material, but still provided the same features and high quality that originated from the Chinese.
Western World Room Dividers
Looking back, it took the western world around twenty centuries to catch up the mesmerising screen. As Europeans began travelling to the eastern world in the fifteenth century, they often came back with a room divider. As word quickly spread among the public, the item became one of the most imported goods at its time until the Europeans decided to start producing them on their own. There were those produced out of wood, but the Europeans added a new dimension to the item, utilising silk, mirrors, and embroidery in the room divider granting it with a certain type of class and prestige.
In modern days the room divider could be used from splitting and organising your home easily, per your convenience in just a matter of minutes, to differentiating an office space or give the privacy of patients in hospitals. As the public adopted the screen, it also managed to find new purposes to be utilised.