Almost all historical sources believe that the Ball & Claw design was derived from the Chinese: a dragon’s claw grasping a crystal ball, or a pearl, or sometimes a scared, flaming jewel. In Chinese mythology, the dragon (Emperor) would be guarding (with the triple claw foot) the symbol (ball - for wisdom, or purity) from evil forces trying to steal it.
About Charles Sutton
Charles is a recognized authority on fine furniture, and is the past chairman of Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library, High Point, N.C. Sutton has written, taught and lectured throughout the U.S. on furniture history, design, period styles, construction and care. Charles was a member of the Adjunct Faculty at Appalachian State University teaching classes on the history of furniture design.
Charles and Martha Sutton founded Sutton Fine Furniture which was responsible for fine reproductions licensed by The British National Trust, The Smithsonian Institute, The Henry Ford Museum and The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. Sutton twice won the coveted, industry-wide Daphne Award for the best reproduction furniture made in America. In 2012, Charles and Martha established SIDE, The Sutton Initiative for Design Education at Salem College, Winston-Salem NC, featuring a chair library of 50 iconic chairs that are used to teach design and construction to students throughout North Carolina colleges and universities.
Sutton has served as chairman of the board for North Carolina Museum of Art and is a member of the American Society of Furniture Designers, The Furniture Society and the American Furniture Hall of Fame Foundation.
Often while researching furniture design, people do not know exactly which designer they are looking for, when the designer lived, in what country, or how most furniture historians describe the designer’s style. Bienenstock Furniture Library offers this reference to help you to find the design information you seek.
I am a firm believer that yes, in this digital age, we still need books, libraries and bookcases. As Mark Lamster points out in "Still Here, Metropolis", libraries remain vital places. Many of them are more crowded than ever as people come to study, work together, consult with experts, and to discover rare and hard-to-find books.