Neckrests / Headrests are prominent across diverse cultures and eras. From the dark vaults of Ancient Egyptian tombs to the banks of the Sepik River, headrests were utilized to support sleepers lying on their sides and preserve intricate hairstyles during the night.

Neckrest were widely used over the entire Island of New Guinea, both Papua New Guinea & West Papua, there are as many forms of Neckrests as there are cultural and language groups on the Island of New Guinea.  In Polynesia Neckrests were also widely used in Fiji, Tonga, Samoa & in the Polynesian outlier Islands in the Solomon Islands group like Tikopia & The Santa Cruz Islands & Rennel & Bellona Islands all made some of the most beautiful & refined shaped Neckrests

Some Neckrests, used by elders, served as marks of secular and religious authority, they are often adorned with images of spirits, ancestors, or other supernatural beings, and some also had magical properties. In New Guinea spirituality was highly individualized, with each kinship group within a village taking an emblematic name, or totem, from the birds and animals of the Sepik River region, a totem serves as the group’s symbol and signifies their ancestral heritage.

The headrest is imbued with an especially significant spirituality because of its association with the mystical aura of sleep. Sleep was recognized as the most intimate relationship with the spirit realm, therefore the decoration on headrests was especially intertwined with their spiritual beliefs. Furthermore, the human head is associated with concepts of power, therefore anything that was created to support this power was revered.

Below are just some of my collection of Headrests / Neckrests more will be listed soon.

Please have a look at my new Exhibitions Gallery


If you have a similar “object” for sale please contact me for the best price and honest advice by a Government approved valuer 

To see many more rare items and the finest masterpieces, please make an appointment with us to visit the gallery.

For all enquires, please contact Todd Barlin, Director of Oceanic Arts Australia

 Phone(61 2) 9328 2512
 mobile(61) 409 560 316
 Gallery Location64 Elizabeth Street, Paddington, NSW, 2021, Sydney, Australia