crescent resting on two posts; posts standing on rectangular base; bands of tacks on top of crescent; bands of metal wrapped around posts; incised lines decorating top of crescent and sides of base

Headrest, 19th century

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The Luba use headrests to protect the elaborate coiffure that is important to their culture. The coiffure, a tradition seen in many African cultures, represents age, status, and gender and is typically adorned with metal, beads, and charms for spiritual power. In addition to the coiffure, scarification is also an important element in Luba tradition because it represents status and is often done to commemorate a rite of passage. On this headrest, the decorative metal tacks create a raised surface that leaves an imprint on the skin when the user sleeps on their side. These imprints represent the tradition of scarification in Luba culture called ntapo.

Details
Title
Headrest
Role
Artist
Accession Number
97.168.1
Curator Approved

This record has been reviewed by our curatorial staff but may be incomplete. These records are frequently revised and enhanced. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@artsmia.org.

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crescent resting on two posts; posts standing on rectangular base; bands of tacks on top of crescent; bands of metal wrapped around posts; incised lines decorating top of crescent and sides of base