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A Rare and Finely Carved Egyptian Wooden Headrest with a Carved Head to both Sides Representing the God ‘Bes’ (Protector of the Homestead) above Carved ‘Lilies’ Decorated to the Stem.

Fine old aged glossy patina.
An old paper label to the underside ‘80’.
Two Victorian nails to the base once supporting a rectangular ‘museum’ display or description card.
Egypt.

Ramesside Period / 13th - 12th Century B.C.


Provenance: 

by repute: Judge Herbert Blum (1900 - 1992) Baltimore Maryland USA.

Herbert F. Rieser, London, during the 1960s.

Acquired by Barbara Kornblatt (b. 1931) niece of Judge Blum.

Sold at Harris Auction House, 1990s, Baltimore, Maryland USA.

Ex Private UK collection.


When they slept the ancient Egyptians rested their heads on low wooden or stone supports. The fundamental form of a flat base, straight shaft and a neckpiece carved to accommodate the head appeared as early as the First Dynasty (3100 - 2890 B.C) and continued through the Ptolemaic period. Elaborate hairstyles necessitated the use of the headrests in order to protect time consuming and expensive hairdressing. The hard pillow or platform kept the wigs and braiding from being damaged during sleep. They were also remarkably comfortable as long as one did not roll over. Similar wooden headrests are still used today in West Africa.

As a support for the most vulnerable part of the body when it was most at risk from the powers of darkness, the headrest was a potent symbol of protection and was often placed in sarcophagi next to the mummy’s head or supporting it. As important burial gifts, headrests served to assist the deceased in his or her quest for immortal life.

Elegantly proportioned ancient Egyptian wood furniture was made for the use of the elite; by modern standards the houses of the poor had very little furniture. Headrests have been found in the tombs of Kings, Queens and their officials together with low stools, chairs, bed frames, jar stands and boxes. 

Dimensions

Size: 19cm high, 8cm deep, 22.5cm wide - 7½ ins high, 3¼ ins deep, 8¾ ins wide 

Price on application





By appointment only

The BADA Standard

  • Since 1918, BADA has been the leading association for the antiques and fine art trade
  • Members are elected for their knowledge, integrity and quality of stock
  • Our clients are protected by BADA’s code of conduct
  • Our dealers’ membership is reviewed and renewed annually
  • Bada.org is a non-profit site: clients deal directly with members and they pay no hidden fees
Click here for more information on the BADA Standard