Marco Polo, a world traveler, and journalist at the very young age of 21 was recognized as someone with great talent, and stamina, let’s not leave that out because stamina was the real gold that helped him survive a precarious journey. Being made an emissary in the court of Kublai Khan by the Khan, Marco quickly found himself traveling, by all manner of conveyances, including his feet. At one point in his life also found himself in prison for several years in Genoa, lacking in much hospitality. Most of his exploits were across the long and winding, and bumpy “Silk Road.” Britannica online reports that the Silk Road was a caravan road stretching from China to Turkey and covering about 4,000 miles traversed by thousands of traders back and forth along the way to and from, and through the countries that lay along the route.
Marco Polo traveled along this route and lived to tell of his many experiences, which are featured in a docu-drama in a spectacular titular Netflix series that will have you on the edge of your seat if you watch it. What we don’t see, in the television series or read about in Marco’s recollections, is the discomfort of the Silk Road journey and the physical courage needed to survive it, even for a young man, because after all, having a comfortable place to sit is sometimes the difference between happiness and survival. No-fault of the horses who provide a place to sit, but boy does that take a toll on you after 4,000 miles.
We at Quick-Seat Chair are always on the lookout for chairs and places to sit. We like to discover how the need to sit, to get off that horse, to get off one’s feet, to have one’s back supported, began and how it evolved over the millennia. Nowhere is the lack of suitable “sit-able” seating so lacking as it would have been along the Silk Road, no matter how luxurious the name. And, unfortunately, even in our modern times, there are many places seriously lacking in this fundamental necessity. Standing and sitting are the Yin and Yang of physical dynamics which means that you cannot or should not have one without the other, yet, a vast majority of places we must visit in our normal daily rounds are lacking. A deep investigation into that long trek along the Silk Road revealed that, unlike pioneers traveling westward, there were very few covered, wheeled conveyances to make that journey, excepting for a few Mongolian yurts carried on wide wooden wheeled barges.
I did learn that the Mongolians had a kind of station system set up across the desert where travelers could exchange horses, get news, water, etc., before starting again. But these were not inns offering comfort, they were merely the forerunners of what today we have as gas stations. It is said that Marco Polo never invented anything in his lifetime, but that he always made use of an early invention, the compass, in all of his travels. If Marco Polo had known about Quick-Seat Chair or conceived it as a temporary chair that could be installed up against a wall, and moved at a later time to another stable and mountable base, he would have kept one with him and a few simple tools to install it on ships and in the semi-permanent yurts he inhabited while being part of the court of the Khan. And, he would have seen to it that they were installed in those dessert outposts for weary riders as well. If Marco Polo only knew…
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