South Asian attitudes towards furniture

Allen W Thrasher athr at LOC.GOV
Fri Aug 10 15:58:50 UTC 2007

I was walking on Capitol Hill and passing by a house which I had earlier noted was occupied by South Asians (it was noteworthy for having banana trees outside it every summer).  There was a big container and a moving crew in front of it, moving out contemporary and very undistinguished not to say crummy furniture.  I got in a chat with the movers and they said the family was returning to India.  I remarked that it would be much cheaper to buy new furniture in India, and of a much better quality, than to ship it back.  They remarked that they had thought that too, but please not to tell the family.  

I have not gotten the impression hitherto that South Asians are particularly attached to particular pieces of furniture.  I've read that French and Italians traditionally think it's against family piety to let loose of any piece of inherited furniture, however inconvenient or out of fashion.  I think American Southerners often have a similar attitude.  But in any case this was things like beanbag chairs, which almost certainly weren't inherited from Great Granddad.  Does spending thousands to ship back recently acquired and undistinguished furnishings fit into any South Asian pattern anyone's observed?


Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D., Senior Reference Librarian
South Asia Team, Asian Division
Library of Congress, Jefferson Building 150
101 Independence Ave., S.E.
Washington, DC 20540-4810
tel. 202-707-3732; fax 202-707-1724; athr at
The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the Library of Congress.

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