HAND CARVED WOOD STATUE PAIR
NAGA: STANDING MALE AND FEMALE
HAND CARVED WOOD MATCHING STATUE PAIR
THE MALE FIGURE HOLDS A HUMAN TROPHY SKULL
IN HIS LEFT HAND WHILE WEARING A HUMAN TROPHY HEADHUNTING NECKLACE WITH THREE HUMAN SKULLS
CIRCA LATE 19TH CENTURY - EARLY 20TH CENTURY
21 X 6 X 4 INCHES
Apart from cultural contacts with the neighboring Ahoms, the ruler of Assam from 1228, the Naga had little or no contact with the outside world, including that of greater India, until British colonization of the area in the nineteenth century.
In 1828, Britain annexed Assam following the Treaty of Yandabo in 1826. In the 1830s, the British sent expeditionary forces, and in 1845, the colonial power succeeded in concluding a non-aggression pact with Naga chiefs, who formerly had attacked bordering areas in Assam. But the Naga repeatedly violated the agreement, continuing to raid in Assam.
After the 1830s, British attempts to annex the region to India were met with sustained and effective guerrilla resistance from Naga groups, particularly the Angami Naga tribe. The British dispatched military expeditions and succeeded in building a military post in 1851 and establishing some bases in the region. In 1878 the Angamis mounted raids on British camps. The British responded strongly, burning several rebel villages and crushing the resistance. Eventually the region came under the administration of the British.
The Naga hills have been an area of continued resistance as they had long been isolated from outside cultures. The development of a spirit of nationalism and sense of a common identity are relatively new concepts among the Naga people. According to their traditions, each village is an independent republic; initially, they wanted to be free from all outside domination.
Europeans were struck by the Naga practice of headhunting. The taking of a head is a symbol of courage. Naga headhunting includes mortification of the rival, ritual violence, cosmological balance, the display of manhood, cannibalism, prestige, and as a means of securing the services of the victim as a slave in the afterlife. The Naga tribes practice headhunting and preserved the heads of enemies as trophies! The Naga hills have been an area of continued resistance as they had long been isolated from outside cultures. The development of a spirit of nationalism and sense of a common identity are relatively new concepts among the Naga people. According to their traditions, each village is an independent republic; initially, they wanted to be free from all outside domination. The Naga make all the goods they use, as was once common in many traditional societies: they make their own cloth, their own hats and rain-coats; they prepare their own medicines, their own cooking vessels, their own substitutes for crockery. Craft work includes the making of baskets, weaving of cloth, wood carving, pottery, metalwork, jewelry and bead-work.
The Naga people are a conglomeration of several tribes inhabiting the North Eastern part of India and north-western Burma. The tribes have similar cultures and traditions, and form the majority ethnic group in the Indian state of Nagaland, with significant presence in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and some small population in Assam.
The Naga speak various distinct Tibeto-Burman languages, including Sumi, Lotha, Sangtam, Angami, Pochuri, Ao, Mao (Emela), Inpui, Rongmei (Ruangmei), Poumai, Tangkhul, Thangal, Maram, and Zeme. In addition, they have developed Nagamese Creole, which they use between tribes and villages, which each have their own dialect of language.
As of 2012, the state of Nagaland officially recognises 17 Naga tribes. In addition, some other Naga tribes occupy territory in the contiguous adjoining states of Manipur, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh, India; and across the border in Burma. Prominent Naga tribes include the Poumai, Sumi, Angami, Ao, Chakhesang, Chang, Khiamniungan, Konyak, Liangmai, Lotha, Pochury, Rongmei, Tangkhul, Thangal, Zeme, Mao.
The Nagas are organized by tribes differentiated by language and some traditions. They have a strong warrior tradition. Their villages are sited on hilltops and until the later part of the 19th century, they made frequent armed raids to villages on the plains below. The tribes exhibit variation to a certain degree, particularly in their languages and some traditional practices.
Similarities in their culture distinguish them from the neighbouring occupants of the region, who are of other ethnicities. Almost all these Naga tribes have a similar dress code, eating habits, customs, traditional laws, etc. One distinction was their ritual practice of headhunting, once prevalent among tribal warriors in Nagaland and among the Naga tribes in Myanmar. They used to take the heads of enemies to take on their power. They no longer practice this ritual. Today the Naga people number around 2 million in total.
The men's clothing is distinctive: conical red headgear is decorated with wild-boar canine teeth and white-black hornbill feathers. Their weapons are primarily a spear, with the shaft decorated with red-black hairs, and the dao, with broad blade and long handle.
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