Egyptian Name:




An item of everyday life that was buried with the dead, mummies often lay within the coffin with the head resting on one. Sometimes a small amulet of a headrest, made of iron, faience, serpentine, obsidian, basalt, or hematite, was included in the mummy wrappings. This amulet was believed to protect the head of the mummy.

The use of a headrest not only ensured a relatively comfortable position while sleeping, but also enabled air to circulate around the head, an added advantage in a warm climate like that of Egypt. This type of headrest was used to cup the side of the face as one slept on one’s side, and it may have been padded and wrapped to make it comfortable. The base of the headrest often features a tenon, perhaps for locking it in place on a bed.

Egyptian headrests were made of wood, faience, slate, or ivory, and often decorated with protective deities such as Shu, Bes, Wenut, or Aker. This simple type of headrest changed little throughout the three millennia of Egyptian civilization, appearing as early as the 1st Dynasty and continuing through the Ptolemaic Period. Similar headrests are still manufactured in West Africa.

Magical Objects