This superb work of Japanese design and craftsmanship carries it's own special piece of cultural significance and history.
It is called a Takamakura, 高枕 [Literal translation 'high pillow'], known for its unusual design and association to geisha culture. The sole intended purpose would have been to safeguard elaborate coiffures.
This piece is of a more complex design, with the woven bamboo top, wood-stained rattan body and gently exaggerated curves and feet at the base being accompanied by an inbuilt drawer compartment at the centre of the unit. Presumably, it was thought that beneath the head was an ideal place to keep valuables safe as you slept.
Today, this work finds its purpose as an art object offering a gateway into it's own special place in cultural history.
A BIT OF HISTORY
The role of the Takamakura in history is strongly associated to the geisha and was designed to meet those needs that might come with maintaining the signature geisha updo of the 17th century. The complicated chignon-like style of the geisha, called the Shimada (島田), could take hours or even up to a day to craft.
Today, most modern geisha wear painstakingly maintained wigs that are easier to manage. However, their apprentices—called maiko (舞妓)—often have their real hair coiffed. Some even have it done the traditional way: pressed, set, teased, tied, and waxed into place by a professional once a week.
The term Takamakura 'high pillow' is at times used interchangeably with Bachimakura 罰枕 [Literal translation 'punishment pillow'], understandably, as the 'pillow' was more of a neck cradle to keep the coiffure maintained until the next hair appointment.
Good to excellent. There is mild age wear (such as the small spot discolouration of the rattan wood at the back of the headrest) commensurable with the age of the piece - please refer to the photos as part of the condition report.
Unit: c. 10" / 25.5 cm tall x c. 18.5" / 47 cm in width x c. 8" / 20.5 cm depth.
Drawer: c. 2" / 5 cm tall x c. 7.7" / 19.5 cm in width x c. 7.7" / 19.5 cm depth.
Unpackaged weight: c. 1.8 kg / 1,767 g
Headrest will be securely packaged and shipping will be insured. Shipping will be combined for multiple items.