An antimacasser is a small mat--usually crocheted or tatted but maybe embroidered on silk, linen, cotton or wool of woven cloth--which was used in Victorian and Edwardian times to protect the top back and sometimes arms of upholstered chairs and sofas from men's hair oil. Macassar oil was a common hair oil made from palm or coconut oil and usually scented with Ylang-ylang. The name is taken from the port of Makassar in Indonesia from which the product was imported.
The old lady's room was crowed with heavy mahogany furniture, deeply carved, upholstered with dusty, crimson plush with intricate crochet antimacassar mats draping the backs of the chairs, still emitting the faint, stale sent of the hair oil of by-gone generations of gentlemen.
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