Headrest (kishalong)

Turkana headrest (kishalong)

The kishalong is a combined headrest and stool, and is carried everywhere by men. It has multiple uses as a headrest, the most obvious being to preserve the men's mud caps, which are sometimes worn for years before they break and are replaced. But it has other more protective uses, too. Although it appears uncomfortable, this may be partly the idea - a herder must always remain alert, even if asleep. With his head at an elevated level, his hearing is enhanced, whilst his head stays out of reach from scorpions and other dangerous insects.

Credit: photo copyright © Jens Finke, 1998.

visit bluegecko.org

Traditional Music & Cultures of Kenya
Copyright Jens Finke, 2000-2003

also by Jens Finke
Chasing the Lizard's Tail - across the Sahara by bicycle
Planosphere.com - fine art photography