Date: 19th–20th century

Geography: South Africa or Swaziland

Culture: Swazi or Zulu or Nguni peoples

Medium: Wood

Dimensions: H. 5 1/2 x W. 23 7/8 x D. 4 in. (14 x 60.6 x 10.2 cm)

Classification: Wood-Furniture

Credit Line: Gift of John B. Elliott through the Mercer Trust, 2000

Accession Number: 2000.160.53a, b


Headrests have been used to protect elaborate coiffures that can relay the status, gender, and age of the wearer. The designs developed by regional carvers are remarkably diverse in both form and style. This example is distinctive for its elegant form and the fact that it features a storage compartment for the owner's valuables.