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Headrest, D45.52

Physical Description

Dark carved wooden animal (cow?) with horns (ears?), standing on four legs. Two pillars arising from its back support a flat, smooth concave cradle/plank, i.e. the headrest portion. Both ends of the cradle/plank are bent down at right angles and carved with small cross hatching. Strands of small irregular glass beads - red, white, blue, pink, and black - are wound around the cow, with small bracelets of these beads around each of the four legs. Figure is of a somewhat flat faced animal with eyes indicated by deep hollows, nostrils by shallow hollows, and a shallow trough for the mouth. Wood is dark, heavy with a fine shiny/smooth patina likely produced by heavy use. A hole in the left side of cow leading to an inside cavity is possibly natural - though it might have been used to hold/contain some material? A crack in the wood extends from above it the hole and below the hole and around the belly. General appearance is of a nicely carved item which has received extensive use and is in good condition.

Research Notes

Nguni (?), South Africa.

Northeast corner of S. Africa (?). Otago Museum "Africa Collection File" by Sarah Brodie says "S. Africa", "Bequeathed by the late Dr. G.J. Barrie 36 Onslow St., St. Clair" [Dunedin]. Beads are a common adornment - particularly pink beads - on S. African artifacts. The carved triangles/pyramids - both upright and inverted - of incised parallel lines is to be found amongst various groups, e.g. Nguni of the NE corner of South Africa. (See: Jean-Baptiste Bacquart "The Tribal Arts of Africa", Thames & Hutton 1998, pg 229, figures 10 & 11. Wood, glass beads, fibre thread.

Head/neck rest.

Dark carved wooden animal (cow?) with horns (ears?), standing on four legs. Two pillars arising from its back support a flat, smooth concave cradle/plank, i.e. the headrest portion. Both ends of the cradle/plank are bent down at right angles and carved with small cross hatching. Strands of small irregular glass beads - red, white, blue, pink, and black - are wound around the cow, with small bracelets of these beads around each of the four legs. Figure is of a somewhat flat faced animal with eyes indicated by deep hollows, nostrils by shallow hollows, and a shallow trough for the mouth. Wood is dark, heavy with a fine shiny/smooth patina likely produced by heavy use. A hole in the left side of cow leading to an inside cavity is possibly natural - though it might have been used to hold/contain some material? A crack in the wood extends from above it the hole and below the hole and around the belly. General appearance is of a nicely carved item which has received extensive use and is in good condition. —Joel A Vanderburg
Africa Collection File:
"S. Africa", "Bequeathed by the late Dr. G.J. Barrie 36 Onslow St., St. Clair

Provenance

Locality:
?Locality:

Measurements

Maximum dimensions (H x W x D): 170 x 57 x 150mm

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