Examples from chairs of very different styles and periods in Gordailua. The backs and seats are made of wood, leather, wicker, reedmace and other fibres. They range from simple to more elaborate designs. They often form part of a set with a matching table. On occasions they also match other furniture, such as cabinets, dressers, beds and bedside tables for sitting rooms, bedrooms and offices.
Although the chair is a very old piece of furniture, it only began to be widely used in Europe from the sixteenth century on. Beyond its practical function, it has also taken on a symbolic importance. It is associated with power, since the mere fact of sitting down when all others are standing is a way of showing hierarchical difference; for example, the verb to “preside” comes from a Latin term which might be translated as to “sit at the front”.
The Provincial Government of Gipuzkoa has a collection of 110 chairs, and the San Telmo Museum another fifty-six, not to mention milking stools, work benches and other chairs associated with specific activities.
Garmendia Larrañaga, Juan. Alkiza eta eser-aulkigintza = Alquiza y la artesanía de la silla. In: Euskal esku-langintza = Artesanía vasca. Donostia = San Sebastián : Auñamendi, 1970. I, 128-137