This headrest was constructed by the Oroma People of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. These headrests are hand sculpted from a single, hardwood block, and are either flat or curved on top. Typically, they feature two or three legs or “links.” This piece is distinguished by a single base serving as its support.
By social custom, the headrest is also conceptualized as a vehicle for communication with Oroma ancestors: “…dreams are considered to be sent by ancestors, and because dreams are dreamt on headrests, it serves as a kind of antenna, and the strength of the signal is increased if the headrest is inherited from a senior relative” (Nettleton 2007).
REFERENCES: Nettleton, Anitra. 2007. African Dream Machines: Style, Identity and Meaning of African Headrests. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.