Antique African Zulu Wood Carved Headrest From South Africa


Antique African Zulu Wood Carved Headrest From South Africa.

Zulu headrests display an amazing variety of shapes and decoration. They vary in the number of legs, and they can be smooth or feature incised linear decoration or raised bosses. These variations seem to reflect both region and age. Many suggest animals, particularly cattle. A multilegged headrest would suggest a herd. Traditionally cattle represented wealth and were involved in daily life, communication with the ancestors and bride wealth payments. The last is particularly apt, since a headrest also formed part of a bride’s dowry. Because of their extended length, Zulu headrests are thought to have been used as stools during the day and pillows at night. The Zulu believe that sleep and dreams are the means for ancestral intervention. The headrest would therefore have been more than an ordinary pillow; it would have been an instrument of mediation between the worlds of the living and the ancestors.

Measurements are: 16.5 inches by 6 inches(42cm by 15.3cm)



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