our charpoys about stringbedco order
A Brief History of Charpoys

Charpoys are an ancient furniture style still used extensively today in the Indian sub-continent. The earliest reference we have found is in Hobson Jobson, a glossary of colloquial Anglo Indian words and phrases :

Charpoy, s, H.(Hindi) charpai, from P.(Persian) chihar-pai (i.e. four-feet), the common Indian bedstead, sometimes of very rude materials, but in other cases handsomely wrought and painted. It is correctly described in the quotation from Ibn Batuta.* c.1350.-

“The beds in India are very light. A single man can carry one and every traveller should have his own bed, which his slave carries about on his head. The bed consists of four conical legs on which four staves are laid ; between they plait a sort of ribbon of silk or cotton. When you lie on it you need nothing else to render the bed sufficiently elastic.”
-iii. 380.

*Ibn Batuta. Voyages d’Ibn Batoutah, Texte Arabe, (Societe Asiatique). 4 vols. Paris, 1853-58.

Beach at Gill House, Port Dickson , Malaysia, 2005. Raj. 22”H, 78”L, 40”W .Square legs

Gill House , Port Dickson. Malaysia. 1933
And so charpoys, like Indian travelers, have landed on many shores. In Malaysia, it was mainly the Sikhs who used them. A typically nostalgic memory commonly held by many Malaysians, is of a burly Sikh security guard lying on his charpoy on the five foot path that runs along shopfronts. In the morning, he would either have a place to stand the charpoy up against the wall or he would carry it off.

The charpoy is a most versatile and functional piece of furniture. We have taken this simple design to make many different pieces of furniture. Thus we have several sizes, which include beds, benches and footstools. These in turn can be used as coffee tables, bedside tables or as storage benches. They can be used all over the house and because there is such flexibility in the design, they can be made to suit any décor environment. In our lovely Malaysian climate they are very well suited to patios but they can look equally grand and elegant in a living room or conservatory. They can also be very economical in terms of space and we do offer a twin set, which is a Raj or Luxman with an Ashoka that tucks in underneath….ideal in a family room or as guest beds.

Gill House, Port Dickson, 2005. Centre: Maya, 16”H, 43”L, 25”W, perigee weave, round legs. Right: Piri, 16”L, 22”L, 22”W, perigee weave, round legs. Left: Private collection.