Learn about Pillows - Oriental

When looking at the images on this page, you may think there is a mistake with the heading "pillows", but illustrated below are hard Chinese and Japanese pillows, the complete opposite of what we expect in a pillow today. This style of pillow was in use from about the 6th century to the end of the 19th century, although the pillows on this page are from the later period. They were designed to keep the neck and head in vertical alignment with the spine, as with present day pillows, but without the head comfort of the soft pillows we use today. The most common shape was a brick with an inverted top, but other whimsical shapes included a recumbent child lying on his stomachs, where the curved back was the head rest, cats crouching also using the back as the head rest, and mythical animals. Most pillows are porcelain; less common are wood, hardstone, lacquer, and jade.

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These items are not for sale and the descriptions, images and prices are for reference purposes only.

A Chinese rosewood / Huali, reclining armchair chair with a rolled Pillow, late Qing, 19th century, a retractable stool with a shaped apron with fine beading, fitted under the seat, a low back splat with extended horseshoe shaped arms, on square corner leg

A vintage pair of Chinese boy and girl porcelain Pillows. the large crouching neck pillow figures decorated with Imari patterned clothing. Height 16.5 cm length 22.5 cm. Width 13 cm

Carved ivory figure of reclining noble with wine flask as pillow, 18 cm length

A Cizhou style tiger Pillow, modelled in a crouching position, 8 cm high, 17 cm wide

A 19th century Chinese porcelain Pillow, Qing Dynasty featuring a recumbent tiger, used by physicians to check patients pulse, 15 cm high

A Chinese hardwood day bed with canopy, the solid canopy with fretwork panels on all sides and slender supports to each corner, the base upholstered in canvas, together with the original pillow, 233 x 255 x 128 cm

A Chinese blue and white ceramic Pillow in the form of a boy. Height 23 cm. Length 34 cm

A Chinese square porcelain famille rose pillow, Daoguang period (1821-1850). 31.5 high, 19.5wide, 13.3 cm deep

A pair of Chinese porcelain opium Den Pillows, Qing Dynasty and after, 19th to 20th century, of typical brick form with coin style piercings to one end and open to the reverse, decorated in underglaze blue decoration, the older pillow with sporting lion do

A collection of Chinese blue and white porcelain comprising a 'kneeling boy' pillow, a lidded canister, 4 various boxes and covers and a powder box (7) (7)

A Cizhou black and green glazed pillow, Jin Dynasty (1115-1234), decorated with two birds amongst foliage, in green on a black ground. From Shanxi province, and probably from the Houma kiln. 14 cm high, 30 cm wide, 20.5 cm deep. Provenance: Capital Gallery

Chinese porcelain Pillow. Green decoration on black ground. 6 character seal mark. Length 43 cm

A Chinese figural porcelain Pillow, the pillow in the form of a temple with a slightly concave roof, with lattice fencing and pierced windows and doors and peopled with various devotional figures, with a deep olive green glaze throughout. Height 18 cm. Wid

A Chinese Yaozhou ceramic pillow in the form of a sleeping attendant on a platform holding a large leaf incised with four quadrants of flowers 16.5cm long x 13 cm deep, 13 cm high

Famille rose porcelain pillow, 6-sided decoration. 6.5 in wide x 5 in high/16 cm wide x 12 cm high

Antique Chinese porcelain angled pillow, famille rose decoration, 19th century, 6-sided decoration. 8.5 in wide x 6 in high/21 cm wide x 15 cm high. Purcahsed; Lammert Bros, Auctioneers, Hong Kong, 15/1/74

An antique Chinese stoneware pillow, modelled as a cat, with brown wash glaze, 24 cm

A Chinese ceramic Pillow, mid 20th century, brick shaped with air perforations at either end, iron red overall with two quatrefoil panels, one featuring a woman admiring her pet bird; the other, a contemplative woman on a balcony beneath the shade of a pin

Chinese pottery pillow, in the form of a child, hand painted decoration, 27 cm wide approx.

Chinese pillow and a vase with under glazed blue marquetry. Together with a similar vase. 28 cm high, 28 cm long.

Two Chinese blanc de chine porcelain pillows. Republic period, one modelled of a child the other with moulded decoration. 19 cm high. 10 cm high.

Pair of cloisonne vases and two Chinese lacquer pillow and box (4)

Chinese pottery pillow, hand painted decoration, 24 cm long

Chinese green glazed terracotta pillow, with pulled feather decorated glaze, 20.5 cm long

A Chinese Qing-style yellow-ground porcelain pillow, of waisted rectangular form, decorated throughout with peaches, dragons, and flowers. Height 7.5 cm. Width 33 cm. Depth 11 cm

A Chinese Zitan pillow, rectangular with a concave top and shaped base. Height 9.5 cm. Width 30.5 cm. Depth 12 cm

Chinese blue and white Pillow and a vase, the pillow 20th century of square form with openwork at top, central medallion with prancing foo dog on each side, artist signed, together with a baluster shaped vase decorated with a rock garden (2). Pillow height

A Chinese Cizhou-style rectangular pillow, with sgraffiato decoration of peony scrolls. Length 48 cm

A Chinese white and green glazed ceramic boy form pillow

Hardstone six sectional box form pillow with carved archaistic style decorative motifs.

A pair of Chinese Zitan pillows, 20th century, the rectangular top with rounded edges standing on four square legs. Height 9.5 cm. Length 23 cm

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