Headrests

Traditional African headrests were carried as symbols of affluence.

The geometric patterns and reliefs were unique to individual artists and varied from region to region.

Intended to cradle the neck and support the head, headrests were used by herders to recline and rest, while still watching their herd at night. During the day, they often served as stools. Beyond their utilitarian function, headrests were important metaphysical objects which  provided a spiritual conduit to one’s ancestors.

Headrest (Oromo People, Ethiopia)
6 x 14 x 4.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Oroma People, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia)
5 x 13.5 x 3.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Oroma People, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia)
6.5 x 15 x 4 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Oromo People, Ethiopia)
8 x 15 x 4 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Oroma People, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia)
8 x 15 x 4.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Oromo People, Ethiopia)
8.5 x 14.5 x 5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Oroma People, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia)
8 x 13.5 x 5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
8 x 21 x 9.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
7 x 17 x 4 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
6 x 17 x 5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
11 x 18 x 6 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; mother-of-pearl inlay.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
6.75 x 17 x 5.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
7 x 28 x 5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
7.5 x 18 x 6 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
8 x 15 x 8 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
7.5 x 18 x 5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
7 x 18 x 5.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
7 x 17.5 x 4 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
6.5 x 17 x 6 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
7.5 x 19.5 x 9 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
7.5 x 18.5 x 7 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
6.5 x 14 x 9 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
8 x 17 x 12 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6 x 21.5 x 3.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
7.5 x 22 x 6.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
9.5 x 15.5 x 10 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5.5 x 17 x 2.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
8.5 x 21 x 10 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
7 x 19 x 3.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6.5 x 17.5 x 2.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
6 x 16 x 16 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6.5 x 17.5 x 3.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5 x 18 x 3.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6 x 17 x 3.5 ″ Carved and sculpted from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6 x 16 x 3 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.25 x 15.5 x 2.75 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4 x 16 x 2.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6 x 14 x 3.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5 x 18 x 3.75 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6.5 x 22 x 3 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.75 x 14 x 3.2 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6.5 x 25.5 x 3 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.75 x 16 x 3 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6.5 x 24 x 3.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5 x 16 x 3 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.5 x 15 x 2.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5.5 x 13.75 x 3 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.5 x 15 x 2 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5 x 19 x 4.25 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.75 x 17 x 3.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5 x 17 x 4 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5 x 17.25 x 3 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.25 x 15 x 3.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5.5 x 19 x 4 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; a rich patina indicates decades of daily use