Signing your name implies ownership, and also pride. If a work is signed, it is validated by the author, to be released into the world to go where it may. Artists, sculptors and furniture makers sign their work–and sometimes textile designers and weavers embed their signature mark, although very often it’s just a label that will probably not survive as long as the textile.
Uncovering initials and a date on the underside of a chair frame or on the back of a screen is not only fascinating, fortunes can be made by it–raising and dashing hopes; indeed, the signature of a master craftsman on a piece of furniture can catapult its expected value into a different sphere .
For example, a set of Louis XVI chairs with a Charles Jacob or dynasty inscription will a) be worth a great deal of money, and b) are highly unlikely to be granted an export license (see George Jacob).