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Pillow in the form of a boy and a lotus leaf, approx. 1050–1126

Pillow in the form of a boy and a lotus leaf, approx. 1050–1126

Pillow in the form of a boy and a lotus leaf, approx. 10501126. China; Hebei province, Northern Song dynasty (960-1126). Glazed high-fired ceramic; ding ware. The Avery Brundage Collection, B60P1351.

With its remarkably well executed figure of a boy and a lotus leaf, this pillow is one of the most refined of its type. During the Song dynasty (960–1279) such pillows were made in vast quantities in a wide variety of shapes, for use both in sleeping and in burials. While they may look miserable to sleep on, it is said that these pillows are actually quite comfortable once a person is used to them. The gentle curve and the height were designed to be perfect for supporting the head. Certainly these pillows would have been ideal for preserving the elaborate coiffeurs popular among women at the Song court.