South African Tsonga Carved Redwood Headrest

A Rare South African Tsonga Carved Redwood Headrest of Anthropomorphic Form the Uprights and Figure Decorated with Pokerwork
Fine old smooth dark brown patina
19th Century
Size: 14.5cm high, 18.5cm wide, 8cm deep - 5¾ ins high, 7¼ ins wide, 3 ins deep
Amongst the Tsonga, the carving of wood was an exclusively male occupation and the types of objects carved, such as meat dishes, milk pails, headrests and staffs were strongly associated with men, their cattle and the ancestors. The human head of this headrest is attached to a powerful quadruped’s body, and is wearing a head-ring. The detailed male genitalia suggests the body of a bull, reflecting the importance of cattle to the Tsonga and their economy. The iconography suggests that this headrest most probably belonged to a man of status and high rank, as the control of cattle was always undertaken by men.
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South African Tsonga Carved Redwood Headrest

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+44 (0) 207 689 7500

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ENQUIRIES

+44 (0) 207 689 7500

+44 (0)7836 684133
+44 (0)7768 236921

enquiries@finch-and-co.co.uk