Swazi headrest
17 inches long by 6 inches tall
Wood, pigment

Acquired from Gordon Crawford - field collected by Gordon Crawford in the northern Hho Hho region in Swaziland

Swazi headrests are very similar in style to their neighbors the Zulu. Swazi headrests are usually 2 legs on either end that are commonly darker
than the cross bar they support. The crossbar usually contains a lug pendant found in the center of the underside of this crossbar. The legs
appear to be almost invariably fluted with vertical grooves, and in some examples, tails and leg-like forms are added at the short end of the
headrest. There is no specific research known to have been done on Swazi headrest symbolism and usage, it is usually assumed that they must
have followed a pattern similar to their southern neighbors, the Zulu, with whom they share many cultural patterns.

Headrests such as this are often damaged from being used as candle holders, or often broken and discarded from general use.
Often times they are buried with their owners which is a practice done among many cultures in Southern Africa.
References: Sleeping Beauties
Rand African Art
home page

African headrests main page

CLICK HERE to see a very nice selection of Swazi headrests in the Calverton Headrest Collection