A Short History of the Pillow
While we equate pillows with comfort and softness today, in 7,000 BC in ancient Mesopotamia, pillows were made of stone. The purpose was to prevent insects from crawling into sleepers’ mouths, noses, and ears. The price of stone was high, so these “pillows” were only used by the wealthy.
In ancient Egypt, on the other hand, the head was believed to be the focal point of spiritual life and was to be cherished. Their pillows were made of varying materials that included marble, stone, wood, ceramic, and ivory. When burying their dead, Pillows were carved with the images of the gods and placed under the deceased’s heads. It was believed this would keep bad spirits away.
In ancient China, it was believed that hard pillows would bring the user health and intellect. They used materials like stone, bronze, jade, wood, bamboo, and porcelain that were decorated with pictures of humans, animals, and plants. The Chinese believed that the pillow’s materials could have health benefits for the person using it and that jade would specifically increase intelligence. They had the technology to make soft pillows; however, they believed these pillows stole energy from the person’s body while they were asleep.