Egyptian, Classical, Ancient Near Eastern Art
On View: Old Kingdom to 18th Dynasty, Egyptian Galleries, 3rd Floor
The standard Egyptian headrest—the equivalent of the modern pillow—consisted of a curved neck support atop a pillar on an oblong base. When a head rested on a support, the combination of round and curved forms resembled the morning sun rising between two peaks, which is also the hieroglyph for “horizon.” Thus the sleeper was connected to the sunrise, a potent symbol of resurrection. Some modern Africans, particularly in Mali and Kenya, still sleep on headrests identical in design to ancient Egyptian examples.
ca. 1818-1700 B.C.E.
late Dynasty 12 to early Dynasty 13
9 x 9 3/8 x 4 7/16 in. (22.8 x 23.8 x 11.2 cm) (show scale)
Gift of the Egypt Exploration Fund
Wooden headrest in three parts with octagonal pillar inscribed in two columns with name and titles of Ht (Khet).
Condition: One side of base has large gap; pillar badly split, rest chipped at one end. The headrest seems to be a re-used piece as the surfaces now containing inscriptions have very obviously been cut down, presumably to efface an earlier inscription.
Inscribed Headrest, ca. 1818-1700 B.C.E. Wood, 9 x 9 3/8 x 4 7/16 in. (22.8 x 23.8 x 11.2 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the Egypt Exploration Fund, 14.650. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.14.650_NegA_print_bw.jpg)
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2014
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