Twa headrest, Democratic Republic of the Congo


Twa, Democratic Republic of the Congo
Width - 8 7/8"
c. Early 20th century
Maurer/Margolis Headrest Collection


"The Brill neckrest is one of only a handful of these rare neckrests known. See DIA (1996:91, figure 60) for a closely related neckrest from a Detroit private collection.; Dewey (1993:64) for another from the Joss collection; Gillon (1979: 118, figure 148) for one from  the MRAC, Tervuren; and Celenko (1983: 208, figure 189) for one from the Eiteljorg Collection.
The Twa are a Pygmy group, at one point estimated at about 100,000 in population, living among the Luba and Mongo peoples. The name 'Twa' is Bantu for "little people". The Twa were nomadic hunters and the only Pygmy group known to produce wood carvings. The composition of the Brill neckrest is unusual with clear Kuba influence, particularly in the incised motifs at the top. The dynamic treatment of the figures displays an individualistic physiognomy and conceptualization." Sothebys New York 11/17/06 Lot 105 describing a Twa neckrest that sold for $45,000.