Text: This headrest incorporating the
figure of an elephant is unusual in both its representation
and large size. It derives from a Tsonga aesthetic
tradition of carving headrests with animal figures.
Widely used by Tsonga cattle herders before the turn
of the century, headrests were typically portable
and functional personal objects meant to protect elaborate
hairstyles. However, the size of this headrest, the
expression on the elephant's face, and the lack of
signs of use suggest it might have been produced for
sale to Europeans.
Citation: National Museum of African
Page: accessed 24 July 2005
Repository Name/Geographic Location:
National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution
(Washington, DC, United States)