|THE — SPECIFIC & IDENTIFIED|
We can discuss a topic using the before a noun, referring to a specific, identified item.
The chair on the right is Assyrian.
|ALL (plural — IN GENERAL|
Or we can discuss a topic using the plural noun form, referring to all such items in general (true for all).
Chairs were a luxury item in ancient times.
Also see Plural / The-definite.
The history of the furniture reflects the history of the culture. Relatively little is known about the furniture of the ancient societies, simply because the furniture was usually made of the perishable materials -- wood and sometimes fabric -- that have not survived. Our limited knowledge of the Egyptian, the Greek, and the Roman furniture is based mostly on the paintings and the sculptures.
The only actual surviving pieces of the furniture of these cultures are from the burials. For example, King Tut's tomb in Egypt contained the display of elegantly decorated royal furniture. About the only surviving example of everyday Roman furniture are from the two cities near Naples that were buried under the tons of volcanic ash from the eruption of the Mt. Vesuvius on August 24, 79 A.D.
ancient (adj.) — very old
bury (buried) — placed underground
decorate (v.) — make something look more attractive, beautiful
elegantly (adv.) – in a beautiful, attractive, graceful manner
fabric (n.) — cloth
is based on — comes from, has as its foundation
perishable (adj.) — can decay, age, spoil easily
reflect (v.) — show, be a sign of a particular situation or feeling
society (n.) — a particular large group of people who share laws, organizations, customs
survive (v.) — to continue to exist after a long time
tomb (n.) — a stone structure above or below the ground where a dead person is buried
Greek Furniture (Wikipedia)