African Art

Pillow

mid-20th century

Colored inks and leather

2 3/8 x 42 1/2 x 20 1/2 in. (6.033 x 107.95 x 52.07 cm)
Gift of Labelle Prussin, Ph.D. 1973
2009.179.22
The design on this pillow is inspired by the schematic representations of a hatumere, the magic squares of Judaic and Islamic kabbalistic writing. Leather pillows such as this one, with their round shape, fringes, and abstract ornamentation rich with sexual symbolism, are meant specifically for women. Pillows for men, on the other hand, are rectangular, and their designs consist mostly of squares, lozenges, and chevrons, alluding to motifs found on body ornaments and architectural decorations.
Culture: 
Berber, Tekna subgroup, Islamic
Period: 
20th century
Classification: 
Furniture
Geography: 
Made in Laayoune, North Africa, Western Sahara
Status: 
On view
Provenance: 

Given to Labelle Prussin by the wife of the Mayor/Imam at Smarra, Morocco, 2006
Donated by Labelle Prussin to Yale University Art Gallery in 2009

Bibliography: 

“Acquisitions,” https://artgallery.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/Pub_Bull_acquisitions_2010.pdf (accessed 2012).

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.