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 ″

Headrest (Oroma People, Ethiopia)
5 x 13.5 x 3.5 ″

Headrest (Oroma People, Ethiopia)
6.5 x 15 x 4 ″

Headrest (Oromo People, Ethiopia)
8 x 15 x 4 ″

Headrest (Oroma People, Ethiopia)
8 x 15 x 4.5 ″

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

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

Headrest (Oromo People, Ethiopia)
9.5 x 16 x 5 ″ Sold

Headrest (Oroma People, Ethiopia)
8 x 13.5 x 5 ″

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

Headrest (Dinka People, South Sudan)
5.5 x 11 x 3.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block. Sold

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

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

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

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

Headrest (Dinka People, South Sudan)
11 x 18 x 6 ″ Sold

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
14 x 60 x 9 cm 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 19.5 x 9 ″

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

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

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

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6 x 21.5 x 3.5 ″

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

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
16 x 53 x 8 cm 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 7 cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Anthropomorphic Dinka Headrest / Stool (Dinka People, Sub-Sahara Africa, South Sudan, Pomamwet)
10.5 x 20 x 5.5 ″ Hand sculpted from a single, hardwood block, either flat or beveled on top

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

Headrest (Dinka People, South Sudan)
8.5 x 21 x 10 ″

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

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
10 x 42 x 6 cm 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 8 cm

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

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

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

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
13 x 40 x 9 cm 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 8 cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

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

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
13 x 47 x 7 cm 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 8 cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Anthropomorphic Dinka Headrest / Stool (Dinka People, Sub-Sahara Africa, South Sudan, Pomamwet)
11.5 x 24 x 14.5 ″ Hand sculpted from a single, hardwood block, either flat or beveled on top

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
13 x 43 x 7 cm Sold

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

Anthropomorphic Dinka Headrest / Stool (Dinka People, Sub-Sahara Africa, South Sudan, Pomamwet)
10.5 x 18.5 x 9.5 ″ Hand sculpted from a single, hardwood block, either flat or beveled on top

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

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

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

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
11 x 40 x 5.5 cm Sold

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

Anthropomorphic Dinka Headrest / Stool (Dinka People, Sub-Sahara Africa, South Sudan, Pomamwet)
10 x 21 x 10 ″ Hand sculpted from a single, hardwood block, either flat or beveled on top

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
10 x 32 x 7 cm Hand carved from a single, hardwood block; the rich patina indicates many decades of daily use.

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
12 x 59 x 12.5 cm Sold

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

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

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

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

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
13 x 43 x 7 cm Sold

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

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

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

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

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5 x 18 x 3.75 ″

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 ″

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

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

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
7 x 21 x 3.5 ″ Hand carved from a single, hardwood block. Sold

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6.5 x 24 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)
4.5 x 15 x 2.5 ″

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

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

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

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)
5 x 17.25 x 3 ″

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

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
5.5 x 19 x 4 ″

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.5 x 12.5 x 3 ″ Sold

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.5 x 15.5 x 3 ″ Sold

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.5 x 18.25 x 2.5 ″ Sold

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6 x 21 x 3.25 ″ Sold

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
6 x 21.5 x 30 mm Sold

Headrest (Zulu People, Southern Africa)
4.5 x 18 x 3 ″ Sold