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CRK 0115-1

Headrest from Ethiopia

L: 20 cm (7,9″), H: 15 cm (5,9″), W: 9,5 cm (3,7″)

This headrest from Ethiopia is caved from one piece of wood, it has beautiful patina from age and much use by a nomadic herder in Ethiopia either to protect his elaborate hairdos or to keep his head off the ground and away from bugs and insects.

Some headrests double as a portable stool and in many areas where headrests are popular, a man never leaves his compound without his headrest, which enable him to sleep without interfering with his complicated coiffure.

Ethiopian headrest styles vary from region to region and are usually made by the owners or a local artisan. Some headrests have elaborate carved decorations while others are very simple and graceful. It is also interesting to note that one of the most graceful of all designs, the large Somali head rest, is remarkably similar in shape and design to a wooden headrest from the ancient Egyptian headrest from 6th dynasty or later (c. 2323-2159 BC).

Age: Est. 30-50 year.

Provenance: Bought from a Belgium art gallery in 2008.

Dewey William, J., “Sleeping Beauties – The Jerome Joss Collection of Headrests at UCLA”
Gunter Best, Marakwet & Turkana. New Perspectives on the Material Culture of East African Societies, Museum fur Volkerkunde, Frankfurt, 1993.

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