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Everything You Need To Know About Doors

Jul 31, 2008
Since the earliest civilisations there have been doors. The oldest recorded doors being those of the ancient Egyptians some 2000 years before Christ who made decorative stone doors clad in gold to guard the kings temple. From the ancient stone doors evolved the bronze doors of the Greeks and Romans held in place by pivots at the top and bottom.

Similar bronze-panelled designs can be seen in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in the 6th Century and in 9th century Constantinople. The bronze panelling continued in Europe with 11th Century Germany and more notably in 11th and 12th Century Italy.

The renaissance period of Italy saw the architects relying more on the doorways rather than doors to make decorative statements and although a specific date is not known, it was around this period that hinges replaced the pivot system as the mechanism for door opening. As time moved into the reigns of Louis XIV and Louis XV, the doors became more elaborate as did most architecture.

As we see most of the memorable doors are those of historical value as they by nature survive the test of time. The door itself serves many non-recordable practical uses throughout history ranging from privacy, security to protection from the elements. The usage of doors much depends on environment and culture.

Where an open stone house in a Cypriot village might have no doors this would not be practical in Palermo, despite them sharing a similar climate, due to the security issues that come hand in hand with city life.

In the small towns of the North-West Territories of Canada, despite there being virtually no security requirements well insulated doors are essential for survival due to the winter boasting temperatures of minus 45 degrees Celsius.

From medieval portcullises to an Indian bead curtain, doors not only have specific practical uses but carry with them a strong symbolism. An excellent example of this is the crown and portcullis symbol that represents the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The connotations of the portcullis are that of defence of the realm or security, therefore making associations between the parliament and national security. The image of an open door is representative of opportunities where a door slammed in the face represents rejection whether it be literal or metaphoric.

The imagery of doors is deeply imbedded in the English language, behind closed doors implies secrecy whilst when one door closes another opens connotes infinite possibilities. The most prevalent symbolism of the door can be found in spiritual beliefs and practices.

The doors of perception coined by cult-rock icon Jim Morrison is the cornerstone of shamanism and in Hinduism a red dot in-between the eyebrows represents a portal for enlightenment. In Christianity the doorway is significant of the transition between heaven and earth, represented when Jesus reached his hand out on the cross opening the doorway for humans to be saved.

The door is not only a historical record of civilization and a symbol of a multitude of faiths but also an iconic object. Picture a Western without the swinging saloon door, or Draculas castle without the heavy wooden gothic door.

In todays society we use the door as an extension of ourselves, whether it is expressed by a welcome-mat outside or many small stickers stuck to the door telling cold-callers where to go. We practically rely on them for security, privacy, comfort and decoration and they are representative of our culture and beliefs.
About the Author
Shaun Parker is an expert on doors consolidation loans at http://www.ukwebloans.co.uk. He has worked with wooden doors, external doors and interior doors.
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