The Greek key pattern (sometimes called meander) made up of repeated vertical and horizontal lines is recognized as a Greek symbol representing infinity and unity. It is seen as ornamental relief on architecture all over the world. As a decorative element, you see it used on furniture, accessories, trims, clothing, fabric and endless other items.
As much as I thought the roots of this symbol were Greek- as the name implies - I dug into researching its origin and found roots in many different countries. I found examples in ancient Egyptian civilization, all over the Mediterranean and in China symbolizing good luck. In fact, the Greek key pattern has been found by archeologists as a decorative element with dates preceding ancient Greece by thousands of years. One such find in the Ukraine dates from 18,000- 15,000 BC. It seems most cultures it adorns have a unique version of its meaning and its origin. Some believe the pattern derives from the twisting, shifting path of the meandering river of Phrygia in the Mediterranean region of present day Turkey. Thus my confusion, the deeper my research dug the more opinions I came up with on its origin and meaning. Suffice to say “I love it” and think the geometric formality of the pattern is amazing in interior design.
This is what happens to me writing blog posts, I sit down to write a quick post on an idea and hours later I emerge as a haggard research obsessed lunatic who still couldn't find that one last photo (not that I am usually short on photos). Then I am so (self) abused that I simply cannot sit and write another post for a least a week. Thus my inability to post frequently enough to keep up with my over achieving blogging group. I am not worthy!
Here are those big gorgeous Greek key photos you’ve been dying for me to shut up and show you (like where’s waldo- find the Greek key variations in each picture):
The house we live in has an interesting past, we are the third owners. It was built in 1890 by a wood carver, he would carve houses in the area then go travel. When he ran out of money he would come home and carve parts of this house until his next gig. My house reads like a bit of a travel log, Ireland here , England there, a little India, and a lot of Greece. Below please find some photos of molding in my living room, third floor office and play room- my love of Greek key continues!
Above: (hopefully not too hard to see) is the Greek flower corner block to a doorway and the Greek key ceiling molding in our living room.
Above: Another Greek flower/sun corner block for a doorway and the Greek key relief running around the room. This room has vaulted 14ft ceilings and an original Victorian skylight that's 8ft tall x 6ft wide (so much for keeping in the heat). This skylight has a different Greek key (similar to the living room) running around the glass panels- see below.
The third floor playroom has the feeling of a church rectory. It’s the top of the turret and the ceiling is an octagon, the Greek key Below- runs around the room at about 7ft with interesting corner blocks like my office. I was able to find drapes from Pottery Barn (shush quiet- don’t tell my work room I bought off the shelf drapes) with a Greek key.