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36 Wooden headrest

Sudan, Dinka
First half of the twentieth century or later

The Dinka are an agro-pastoral group in South Sudan. This wooden headrest is carved out of a single branch and has three legs. The platform is raised at the edges forming two bird heads; there is a carved groove from beak to beak becoming wider and deeper as it follows the shape of the platform. The eyes of the birds and the upper surface of the platform are decorated with copper alloy nails, heavily worn and slightly corroded. The platform also has several scratch marks on the surface. The double bird motif was used in East Africa from Pre-Dynastic times in Ancient Egypt. Here, it is cleverly incorporated into the form of the headrest.

Private Collection loan 3

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The Fitzwilliam Museum : Case 3

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