CIRCA WHAT: The Peacock Chair

Apr 23, 2022 | Designs and Designers

Origin of The Peacock Chair

As early as the 1600s, European colonists began bringing back beautifully woven products and furniture made of rattan from locations in Southeast Asia.

Although the origins of the Peacock Chair have been widely debated, most accounts trace the throne-like chair to Asia, It is likely to have originated in the Philippines, which is why it is often referred to as the Manila or Philippine Chair.

During the late 1800s, wicker furniture became all the rage. This is partially due to the fact that porches, verandas, and other breezy areas were in demand, thus necessitating proper outdoor furniture.

Printed and published by Marcus Ward & Co. in 1881.


Imported from the Philippines, the chair originated in a prison in Manila. Prisoners at the Bilidad jail spent their time weaving not only furniture such as the peacock chair, but also silverware and baskets made from reed, willow, grass, and wood.

The first person photographed in this chair in 1914, was a prisoner at Bilibid Prison in the Philippines.


The best known of these, dating from in 1967, features the Black Panther Party’s founder and Minister of Defense, Huey Newton, seated on a Peacock chair, holding a rifle and a spear, flanked by traditional, African shields.

Since it has been popularized during the twentieth century in the United States by celebrities and activists, who often chose to pose with the chair during publicity shots



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