Japanese Pillow Form Basket

Vintage Japanese Pillow Form Basket | Rare Bamboo-Woven Headrest

$285.00 Regular price $425.00

Age:1926-1989 (Showa Period)

Descriptive qualities& condition:

Dimensions: 5-1/2”h x 7-1/2”d x 10-1/2”w

The Pillow Form Basket being sold is a two-piece woven storage basket utilizing a simple basketweave, and in the form of a headrest that has been lacquered to a beautiful patina. The edge of the basked it made of bamboo that has been formed to compliment the rectangular shape, which has a great deal of flexibility to be comfortable. These headrests often supported elaborate coiffures that were far too complex and time consuming to restyle on a daily basis. During the Edo and Meiji periods, (1603–1912), in Japan, hundreds of different hairstyles were used especially among courtesans, and placed under her neck so that the complex hair form that framed her face would remain intact. The Japanese bamboo-woven headrest, which has a long and storied past, has an inner compartment to hold silk that has been infused with fragrances to aid in sleeping. It’s known for its peculiar design and soft flexible structure that has a functional connection to the geisha culture.

Vintage Condition: Excellent as originally made. “As is” with no flaws or cracking, (particularly on the corners), or affects from use, and retains the original craft/workmanship and beautiful appearance.

NOTE: These headrests often supported elaborate coiffures that were far too complex and time consuming to restyle on a daily basis. During the Edo and Meiji periods, (1603–1912), in Japan, hundreds of different hairstyles were used especially among courtesans, and placed under her neck so that the complex hair form that framed her face would remain intact. This Bamboo pillow in a sense, is similar to the Japanese “takamakura”, which was meant to be a “high pillow neck Bolster, cradle or cushion”, supporting the base of the neck. Though the neck headrest has long fallen out of common usage, the term endures in the popular Japanese phrase: taka-makura de neru, loosely translated meaning “to sleep in peace” or “to sleep without worry”. It is said that Samurai and sumo wrestlers have also slept on a similar high pillow to preserve their topknots, “chonmage”. They were often important indicators of one's status, and acted as conduits to the ancestors where they were employed to invite spirits into dreams.

Bamboo headrests served other purposes besides elevating the head and protecting hairstyles. They were used during the hot Japanese summers to keep the head cool while providing a supportive surface.