wooden pillows and headrests

Gary Heathcote zinjman at uog9.uog.edu
Tue Jul 18 15:02:05 UTC 2000

Hafa Ada'i (and apologies for the cross-posting),

In Blust's (1976) linguistic reconstruction of early Austronesian material
culture, "pillow, wooden headrests" are included in the category of
utensils and weapons'.   Reflexes of the reconstructed proto-Austronesian
form are known in both Western Malayo-Polynesian and Oceanic languages.

Given my interest in the geographic patterning of posterior cranial
morphology, I am interested in compiling a database on wooden
pillows/headrests, re Asian-Pacific peoples, specifically:

* photographs/drawings/descriptions of them
* specifics on use (e.g. found/employed only in men's houses?)

Any bibliographic assistance will be greatly appreciated.  While my
proximate goal is to gain familiarity with the distribution and use of
such wooden pillows/headrests throughout SE Asia and the Pacific,
information on the distribution/use of such utensils elsewhere will be
welcomed.  And, of course, if anyone knows of an old fashioned (or
otherwise) culture trait distribution study that covers this topic, I'd
certainly be pleased to hear of it!

Please note:  'Pillows/headrests' may include tree trunks used as pillows.
Rodrique Lesveque, in a footnote (p.78) in his _History of Micronesia_
Vol. 6 (Revolts in the Marianas), speaks of such 'communal pillows'
running the lengths of (17th century Chamoru) dormitories, and goes on to
add that "this commodity can still be seen in
traditional communal houses in the Carolines."   Does anyone have any
specific information on the latter?

Gary Heathcote
Anthropology Resource & Research Center
University of Guam

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