Dogon Zoomorphic Headrest

Stunning Dogon zoomorphic headrest with a beautiful patina.

Tribe: Dogon

Origin: Mali

Approx Age:  Mid 20th Century

Materials: Wood

Dimensions cm: 14 (tall) x 32 (long)

Ref. Number: 0907

£575.00 RESERVED


A stunning Dogon zoomorphic headrest from an old UK collection. This headrest has beautiful patina suggesting plenty of use by its owner. Showing an amazing zoomorphic representation of a horse, an animal greatly revered by the Dogon. This is a lovely aged item which previously had been in a collection for over 50 years, there are nice age lines, slight cracking and it has a few more recent scuffs, possibly where it had been stored after the collector passed on.


Headrests were used to protect elaborate hairstyles at night. Similarly used in ancient Egypt, headrests were used to keep the head level with the shoulders whilst sleeping. However, headrests go far beyond mere practicality. Associated with sleep and dreams, headrests absorbed dark powers. A significant number of very old headrests have been found in Dogon country in Mali. These headrests were not used by the Dogon but by the Tellem, a people living in the cliff faces before the arrival of the Dogon. These days, the Dogon believe that their spiritual leader Hogon, whose head could not touch the ground, must have used such a headrest. Dogon art is not a single fixed style as has been often characterised in discussions of their sculpture, for the age of Dogon art extends to the past as early as the 12th century and continues to be created in the present with a number of sub-styles measured against the core of an identifiable Dogon art and style.

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