Friday, February 10, 2012
Tsonga Neckrest - South Africa
The above images depict a rare Tsonga neckrest with carrying handle in the form of a dance staff, the handle of which terminates in an elegant disk-shaped finial often found on North Nguni staffs. The gently curving handle is perfectly carved to allow the end of the handle to rest on the floor surface. South African neckrests with carrying handles are particularly rare.
Carved on the surface of the horizontal support are five parallel rows of fine dots carved in relief. These dots would have formed indentations in the face of the male sleeper, reminiscent of the scarification patterns on North Nguni women. These temporary facial patterns were said to be the source of much amusement.