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Early 20th century Headrest (#1091) - Dinka People, South Sudan

Price: $1,250.00





Title: Headrest - Early 20th Century

Material: Wood

People: Dinka

Country: South Sudan

Description: Headrests were used by men to protect their hairstyles
while they slept. Many east African pastoralists regard coiffure
primarily as an indicator of status. A young man is entitled to begin
wearing the distinctive coiffure that marks him as an adult only after
he is initiated. The use of headrests is often associated with this
advancement and the headrests themselves become status symbols.
The Dinka multi-purpose headrests/stools also provide a convenient
place to sit as it is not considered proper for elderly men to sit directly
on the ground. Headrests were made to resemble the forms of various
animals, and birds. The symbolic importance of such objects is
highlighted by the Shilluk belief that this headrest form was invented
by Nyakang, their most important ancestor, culture hero and the
founder of the Shilluk dynasty. The Anuak held that if the king-elect
was able to balance on a three-legged stool during his investiture
ceremony he was acknowledged as the rightful heir.

Dimensions: 7 1/2" height x 15 3/4" length x 8" width

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