A wood and coco fibre neckrest, Kali Laloni .
Tonga islands, early 19th century.
The Kali Laloni is a type of headrest mainly used by Tongan chiefs and characterized by square-shaped feet on each of the four legs. The upper part of legs that bridges the objects often takes on a "v" shape into which the wedge neatly fits underneath.
Edward Dodd, (1905-1988), publisher and author of books on the South Seas, said about Tongan headrests "Since the head as the most sacred part of the body, the residence of a man's mana, it was desirable that the head's support be appropriately individual and well-designed". Being so associated with the head, headrests were important personal possessions and it was deemed an insult to touch a kali without the owner's permission. Today, women still regard tham as a necesssary article for weddings, funeral and other traditional functions.
Provenance: Collection James Barzyk, Chicago, USA
"The Art of Tonga", Keith St Cartmail, University of Hawaii Press, 1997; p. 52-57.
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3 800 €