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from Qurneh, Egypt

Postcard of Headrest.
© National Museums Scotland


This wooden headrest with ebony and ivory inlays is among a number of grave goods placed in the rich burial of a woman and child at Qurneh in Egypt, sometime in the 17th Dynasty. It was found within the woman's coffin. She may have been a queen.

The headrest is made of three pieces, with the base and pillar octagonally faceted. The curved neck support is fitted to the base by a tenon. The pillar is decorated with ebony and ivory triangular inlays. Instead of pillows, ancient Egyptian beds had wooden headrests.

Wealthy people in ancient Egypt were buried with a range of objects to help them in the Afterlife. These included religious amulets, food and drink, furniture, games, clothes, jewels, and even miniature servants to do the work. The furniture buried with this woman included stools for sitting on and her headrest for use when lying down.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-479-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  A.1909.527.3
Date: 17th Dynasty
2nd Intermediate Period: 17th Dynasty (around 1641 to 1539 BC)
Dimensions: 140 mm H x 305 mm L
What: Head rest
Subject: Furniture
Who: Professor W.M. Flinders Petrie (Excavator)
Where: Ancient Egypt, Qurneh
Description: Tripartite head rest in dark brown wood with the base and pillar octagonally faceted: Ancient Egyptian, excavated at Qurneh, 17th Dynasty
  • Petrie, W. M. Flinders. Qurneh. London: School of Archaeology in Egypt, 1909. 
  • Qurneh / by W.M. Flinders Petrie. London, B.S.A.E. & B. Quaritch, 1909, 6 - 10 
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