This vintage tribal Nagaland necklace features a bronze pendant with two heads or faces; hence, it is called a "double head hunter," as it represents the heads taken by the head hunter. The Naga people are actually quite varied. There are two million belonging to over tribes, inhabiting northeastern India, Myanmar, although they at one time were in Southern India and Sri Lanka. From a website about the history of headhunter jewelry: "Throughout the 19th and into the early 20th centuries, the Naga gained notoriety for being active "Headhunters." Headhunting was a cultural practice among Naga men to gain respect, power and honor as well as local fame. Headhunting carried several meanings among the Naga. It was viewed as an achievement that determines the status of a man in their society. For the Naga, a man must have taken at least one enemy’s head in his lifetime. The man who has more enemies’ heads taken has a higher status in the society and is well honored. It was also believed that bringing enemy heads back to the village was a sign of good luck for a bountiful harvest, prosperity for the community, and had a religious symbolism as well. It was believed that enemies’ heads could appease the wrath of malevolent spirits and remove any misfortune from the village. Only a successful headhunter was allowed to tattoo his face and body, and as a demonstration of his prowess and skill, he could wear a brass head on a necklace for each head that he had seized." Naga were forced by outside influences to give up the practice of headhunting, yet the cast brass totems are still considered powerful and decorative. This piece came to me from the estate of a woman who traveled extensively, The beads are a mix of carnelian, carved bone, faux coral, and glass trade beads.
The necklace measures 29" end to end. The pendant is 2-5/8" wide by 1-3/4" long to the hooks. Total weight is 173g. Looking at the twine, this piece does have age, and be aware that the weight will over time continue to pull on and possibly erode the twine.
Fascinating history of a fascinating culture.
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May 31, 2021
Super fast shipping. Amazing description!!