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, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia)
8 x 15 x 4″

Headrest (Oromo People, Ethiopia)
8.5 x 14.5 x 5″

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)
6 x 17 x 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)
8 x 21 x 9.5″ 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 18 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)
6 x 16 x 16″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

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)
7.5 x 22 x 6.5″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Oroma People, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia)
8 x 13.5 x 5″

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)
9.5 x 15.5 x 10″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block.

Headrest (Oroma People, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia)
6.5 x 15 x 4″

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
7.5 x 19.5 x 9″

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)
8.5 x 21 x 10″

Headrest (Oroma People, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia)
5 x 13.5 x 3.5″

Headrest (Dinka People, Republic of South Sudan)
8 x 17 x 12″ 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 (Oroma People, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia)
8 x 15 x 4.5″

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

Headrest (Oromo People, Ethiopia)
6 x 14 x 4.5″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
12 x 41 x 10cm

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
10 x 42.5 x 8.5cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
12 x 51 x 7cm

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
12 x 44 x 8cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
15 x 48 x 9cm

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
10 x 42 x 6cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
16 x 51 x 5cm

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
13 x 47 x 7cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
15 x 51.5 x 8cm

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
15.5 x 47.5 x 8cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
17 x 59 x 7cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
15.5 x 47.5 x 8cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
14 x 60 x 9cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
12 x 49 x 8cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
13 x 48 x 7cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
13 x 46 x 8cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
16 x 51 x 9cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
13 x 40 x 9cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
16 x 53 x 8cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
18.513 x 41 x 6.5cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
10 x 32 x 7cm 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″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.25 x 15.5 x 2.75″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.25 x 15 x 3.5″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.5 x 15 x 2″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6.5 x 24 x 3.5″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6 x 16 x 3″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6 x 17 x 3.5″

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)
5.5 x 19 x 4″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5.5 x 13.75 x 3″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4 x 16 x 2.5″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6.5 x 17.5 x 2.5″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6.5 x 25.5 x 3″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5.5 x 17 x 2.5″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5 x 18 x 3.5″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
7 x 19 x 3.5″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.75 x 14 x 3.2″

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)
6 x 21.5 x 3.5″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6 x 14 x 3.5″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6.5 x 17.5 x 3.5″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5 x 19 x 4.25″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5 x 17.25 x 3″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.75 x 16 x 3″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.75 x 17 x 3.5″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5 x 17 x 4″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.5 x 15 x 2.5″