Wooden headrest, Egypt

Wooden headrest, Egypt
Dating:3100 BC–30 BC
Material:Wood (undetermined)
Physical:17.6cm. (6.9 in.) - 186 g. (6.6 oz.)

Links to other views:

⇒ Larger View
if scripting is off, click the ⇒ instead.

• • •

  While many extant Egyptian headrests are strictly funeral objects, this one might have been an item of daily life. It is lower than most, and its base features a tenon, perhaps for locking it in place on a bed.

This type of headrest was used to cup the side of the face as one slept on one’s side. It may have been padded and wrapped to make it comfortable. This simple type of headrest changed little throughout the three millennia of Egyptian civilization.

“Headrests were an essential part of an Egyptian household’s arrangements and were taken to the tomb for use in the Other Life; mummies often lay within the coffin with the head resting on one” (Andrews 1994:95).

“While they slept, ancient Egyptians rested their heads on low wooden or stone supports. The fundamental design form of the Egyptian headrest -a flat base, a straight shaft, and a neckpiece curved to accommodate the head- appeared as early as the First Dynasty (ca. 3100-2890 BC.) and continued through the Ptolemaic Period. Similar headrests are still manufactured in West Africa” (Russmann 2001:162).

Bibliography (for this item)

Andrews, Carol
1994 Amulets of Ancient Egypt. University of Texas Press, Texas. (95)

Russmann, Edna R.
2001 Eternal Egypt: Masterworks of Ancient Art from the British Museum. University of California Press, Berkeley. (162)

©2004 CIWA, All rights reserved.