Vintage Shona Headrest


3 items left
The use of headrests in southern Africa is ancient and has been traced back to the twelfth-century archaeological site of Mapungubwe, an urban center along the Limpopo River. There, evidence of gold sheeting believed to have adorned a long-disintegrated wooden headrest has been recovered. While headrests were designed to serve a functional purpose--to support the head while sleeping in order to protect elaborate hairstyles--their intimate connection with their owners is such that they are also seen as precious vehicles for communicating with an ancestral realm. In many instances, such artifacts are buried with their owners along with other personal items.

The design of such works is reflected in a range of regional styles. Shona sculptors and their neighbors to the southeast, the Tsonga, have been credited with the most varied formal solutions to the carving of the support element.
  • Each piece is one-of-a-kind and possesses its own unique personality. Variations between items received and images shown can occur. To choose from our current inventory, images can be requested here.. 

  • 8-10"W x 7-8”H
    Sizes may not be approximate, each piece is unique. 
    Please contact a sales representative for assistance if your space limitations demand a more specific L x W x H.

  • Standard shipping is 4 - 8 days. View kanju Shipping Policy

Please review our terms and conditions for refund and exchange policy. ALL SALES ARE FINAL. For additional information, contact us. 

Sign up today! To Learn More About our Story