Wooden headrest with a flat, oblong top, sides carved with vertical curved shapes, and each end with horizontal lines.

Formally, this is an unusual headrest. Zulu headrests in collections of the type with legs of the thorn/horn-shape do not usually display legs carved in relief (i.e. protruding from the support), as in the present case. Rather, the legs typically extend ‘in the round’ from the platform or pillow, but sometimes they include a horizontal element near the base. The legs of this type of headrest usually taper at both ends, with the feet being narrowest. The present headrest combines leg-like forms and a solid, block-like rectangular support. Documented examples of the latter type are usually incised with motifs.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: enquiry@horniman.ac.uk