This leather pillow bears designs that seem to indicate an origin in West Africa. A cushion such as this in a tribal culture can serve multiple functions: it can provide comfort and decoration in the home, and it also can provide an elevated state that can be used to denote a position of power or authority. Made from leather it would be something that could be made by hand by domestic craftsmen. Decoration and adornment serve as tribal or cultural identifiers. If this pillow is indeed African it seems likely Dr. Turner would have acquired it during his time there in 1951-52.
In its current condition, the pillow bears considerable signs of wear and age.