Cane strips have been used in weaving objects since ancient times, originating as basket material and evolving into furniture. A woven cane bed was buried in Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1323 BC, and a cane coffin holding a Moche princess was buried in Peru around AD 750. Cane was used all over Asia and Africa throughout history, woven on objects like Tibetan shields from the 14th-16th centuries AD.
Caned furniture first appeared in Holland, England and France around the 1660s, thanks to bustling trade with Asia. Caning was typically used for the seats and backs of wooden chairs. According to one vintage source, caned chairs were popular because of “…their Durable, Lightness, and Cleanness from Dust, Worms and Moths…” a reminder of how interiors at the time were itchy germ traps. Caned chairs were not only hygienic and airy, but also lighter weight than solid wood, and less formal than the typical seats heavily upholstered with silk or tapestry. Local cane manufacturers sprang up in Europe, and the style remained popular through the 18th century.