Delaire Graff Estate, Africa Nova- Dinka Headrest

Dinka Headrest

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Dinka, South Sudan, mid 20th century
1.18 kg | 25cm H x 55cm L x 12cm W 
The curved, three-legged headrests of the Dinka people were carved from a single tree branch, which had been pruned into the desired shape. Dinka headrests are typically suggestive of animals: in this case, the end designs evoke the horns of cattle, which are central to Dinka culture. Adult men wore elaborate coiffures which indicated their age and social status; raising their heads on a headrest protected these hairstyles while sleeping. A wide headrest such as this could also serve as a stool, as it was considered undignified for an elder to be seated on the floor.