Eastern African Headrest

Carvers in eastern Africa created headrests like this one by foraging and creatively adapting tree limbs with features suggestive of animal forms. Placed horizontally, this fine example resembles an abstract, three-legged creature, vigorous and aware. Such headrests would be kept for many years by their owners as highly valued personal items, and the smooth, rounded surfaces of this rest reflect significant age and use. Two small holes are found at the “head” and “tail,” which would have been used to attach a strap or cord so the rest could be slung over the owner’s shoulder while he roamed with his cattle.


Early 20th century
18 ¾” l  7” h
Provenance: Merton Simpson, New York; Noble Endicott, New York
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