Infant's hooded cradle. Black walnut, with two curved rockers, straight sides that angle out from the bottom, and a paneled hood. Each long side of the cradle has a heart-shaped cut-out handhold near the edge. The hood has shaped edges at the sides and a roof composed of four flat panels with a curved visor at the front edge. The footboard has an arched top edge. The cradle bottom is a flat plank. The rockers are curved and have rounded tips. The overall dimensions are approximately 29 inches high, 24.875 inches wide, and 45.5 inches long.
(Keywords: Children's Furniture, Early American)
|Ownership and History||
The solid, sheltered form of this cradle is a response to certain child-rearing concerns of its time, such as protecting the baby from drafts and shading its eyes from direct light. The common practice of swaddling (wrapping an infant in cloth bands to restrict movement) kept the body straight and the limbs extended, which was believed necessary for proper physical development. The long narrow shape of this cradle echoed the shape of a swaddled infant and gave the illusion of the tall straight posture that was pleasing to parents.
The cutout handles allowed the cradle to be carried about; it would be placed at the feet of the caregiver, who could keep it rocking while working at other household tasks. The rounded ends on the rockers are a safety feature, to prevent tipping.
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