There are very few people who for a certain reason will not use a pillow while sleeping, health problems are usually behind such habits; otherwise, the pillow is the ever present and extremely common element to be found in every bed on this planet. Nevertheless, besides the very practical or functional aspects associated with this basic item, there are artistic and decorative features that should not be ignored either. Take for instance the case of throw pillows, fluffy pillows or sofa pillows. There are tassels, embroidery and fringes added for embellishment, and one would certainly not use such a pillow to sleep on.
The history of our common pillow is very old, tracing back to ancient Egypt where it was used by the wealthy in some very exquisite forms. There were pillow-like objects found in the tombs of the pharaohs and the difficulty of the artistic realization was definitely remarkable. Pillow sewing and dyeing was even considered a form of art, or at least a pseudo-artistic manifestation as such decorative items became highly valuable as commodities. The Chinese and the Europeans were the ones to adopt the use of the pillow for practical rest purposes, and in time mass production took over.
Nevertheless, a Chinese pillow for instance would definitely look a lot different from the concept we are familiar with today: in the past, such a pillow would have been a wood box, usually made of bamboo that was placed under the neck to support the head. The wood pillow is still a traditional item in countries like China or Japan, though stuffed fabric has also become widely used for the matter. Feathers have been the regular pillow stuffing for ages now, yet, the last decades have been marked by the appearance of modern materials that trigger no allergic reactions and are very easy to clean.
Presently, people are used to the therapeutic variant of the very traditional pillow: thus, there are neck pillows, lumbar pillows and other varieties that are meant to create a perfect position during sleep. The basic problem with a feather pillow for instance is that it doesn't allow for the correct alignment of the head with the neck and the spine; therefore, people who suffer from back pains are generally recommended to try a more special pillow type. Foam and synthetic fills are the major trend in pillow manufacturing these days, as they are a lot easier to clean and they definitely ensure the correct body position during sleep.