Gurage Headrest

The Gurage headrest is an important piece of everyday art that is not only used as a place to rest one’s head but can and is also used as a seat.

Tribe: Gourage /Gouraghe

Origin: Ethiopia

Approx Age: Mid 20th Century

Materials: Wood

Dimensions cm: 16 tall

Ref. Number: 1083

£125.00
Description:
Impressively carved Gurage Gouraghe Headrest from Ethopia. Made of a single piece of wood and very highly carved with a pattern of both rings and small squares. A lot of time and care having been taken to decorate the stem of this Gurage headrest being shown not only by the intricate design but also by the colouring in both an orange and red pigment highlighting its fascinating design. The orange colouration could possibly be the natural wood colour. Showing good signs of being used and also cherished as at some time this beautiful headrest has undergone a repair. Overall this lovely headrest is an endearing piece of Gurage tribal art.

History

The headrest is an important piece of everyday art that is not only used as a place to rest one’s head but can and is also used as a seat. Often headrests have the purpose not only to rest a head on but as a means of protection for some of the elaborate hairstyles/ coiffures that many African tribes display. In many parts of central, western, and southern Africa, headrests were carved by their owners; while others were exquisitely crafted by professional carvers. These headrests often supported elaborate coiffures that were far too complex and time consuming to restyle on a daily basis. Hair was intricately braided or embellished with clay, beads, and other decorative materials. Small, wooden supports protected these styles during sleep, helping to preserve a hairstyle for weeks or even months at a time. Being of the size they are it makes the headrest very portable and hence can be taken anywhere with ease.

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