NAGA TROPHY HEAD CHEST PENDANT W/ HUMAN TEETH & FETISH MATERIAL
Origin: Northeast India, Naga people (Provenance: Ex. Bill Sutterfield collection, Alameda California)
Period/Date: Late 19th century
Materials: Hardwood, human teeth, animal bone, natural resin adhesive, fiber, ocher pigments, plant fiber and cowrie shell.
Description: This fine quality wooden trophy head is presented on a custom bronze display base. It represents the fate of a real human victim. Only a warrior who had taken a head in battle or acquired one from a raid on an enemy village could wear one of these emblematic wooden heads on his chest. What's most interesting about this example is that it has two inset human teeth along the upper jaw, presumably taken from the victim! In addition, it has as an attached "fetish bundle" on the inside cavity. The inset teeth look all original and were incorporated into the head when it was first made. Because of the antiquity and importance of the object within the culture, I believe it was further made into a "power object" and used in sorcery and magic. It shows extensive use and has acquired a multi-colored varied patina over its lifetime. There are two sets of old worn hand pierced holes on the sides of the ears and on the top of the head. It is in good condition with no loss or restoration. A very dramatic, intriguing and powerful piece. Definitely one of the best trophy heads we've had.
CF. "The Nagas" by Julian Jacobs, pages 194-199.
Dimensions: (Wooden Head) Height: 3.25" (8 cm), Width 2" (5 cm)