The Konyak warrior tribe is one of the many Naga tribes. But what sets them apart from the rest of the tribes of this northeastern Indian state is their fierce headhunting history, which was part of their strong warrior tradition. Territorial conflicts between rival tribes and villages were resolved through warfare and Konyaks were feared for their headhunting skills – they beheaded their enemies and brought back the severed heads as trophies in a specially designed basket that they carried to the battles. The heads were then proudly displayed on the walls and doorways of the warriors.
The Indian government put a ban on headhunting in 1960 but Konyaks say that the tradition continued for a few more years before limited aspects of modernity were accessible in these remote parts of Nagaland. The next generation of the Konyaks partially embraced a Baptist-based Christianity.
In the remote villages of Nagaland ‘s Mon district, which borders Myanmar, a motley band of elderly former warriors are still visible — their tattooed faces and torsos bear witness to mortal combat and the once customary headhunting. It was tradition to honor the men with tattoos on their faces and chest as a mark of their heroic deeds. The elaborate process was done only by the chieftain’s wife.
Now mostly in their 80s, these former warriors are distinguishable also by their large ear piercings made of animal horns and war hats made of hunted wild pigs’ horns, hornbill feathers, and wild bear or goat hair. They still carry the knives with which they killed.
This is a stunning powerful display piece created in the same style with the same materials that the head hunters used themselves.
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All the remains I sell are over 100 years old for the law, ethically sourced and respect of the living friends and relatives, I would never sell any remains with a known name as this may upset the living and that is in my opinion disrespectful. If someone is disrespected with no link to a random skull then that is their opinion and in my mind not disrespectful.