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Egyptian wooden headrest, New Kingdom, circa 1567-1085 B.C

Conservation:  Repaired
Material:  wood
Dimensions:  15,5 x 23 cm
Provenance:  Former American private collection, 1980 / Galerie R. Eberwein (GmbH), Germany, 2015
Exhibited:  Ifergan Collection, Málaga (2018-2020)


Ref re001 Category Tag

Of simple lines, it is an object of use, since most of the funerary headrests were decorated with gods that protected its owner in moments of sleep, as well as inscriptions with name and titles of the deceased, or a greater work in its chiseling. These more elaborate ones, made of alabaster, limestone or quality wood, were made of different pieces, larger in size, thus complicating its use, and relegating it to a votive element that was part of the funerary trousseau. The headrests of this quality were reserved for the elite, the high dignitaries.

But this example is, having a suitable size for its function, an object of daily use. Its arched shape to support the head not only ensures a relatively comfortable position while sleeping, it also allows air to circulate around the head, an added advantage in Egypt’s hot and dusty climate. Even so, due to its rigidity it is believed to be more of a votive use.

This object appears in the Ancient Empire and lasted until the last years of the Egyptian civilization. Although such was its development that today it is still made and used in different African tribes. Its moment of splendor was in the Middle Empire, where each sarcophagus had to contain a headrest to accompany the deceased, so it was considered an integral part of the funerary ensemble.

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