Black Beaded Naga Necklace
Nagaland, the smallest of Indian states, is located in North East India, bordering Burma. Its inhabitants are aboriginal tribes whose distinct culture has persisted for thousands of years. Their culture is free of Hindu influence. Instead, it is animistic, meaning objects, plants or animals possess energy or soul. Once significance is ascribed to worn materials, they become important power objects.
Naga jewelry is worn mainly by men warriors during ceremonial festivals, and it is quite uniform. The prerogative to wear particular ornament is strictly controlled, and rights to wear certain ornaments are earned thus allowing for social mobility. Rights are permitted based on bravery, wealth and prestige. Materials used are varied- vegetable substances like bamboo or wood, animal materials like skin, hair, claws, horns, and tusks, imported materials like ivory, seashells, corals and metals and hard stone beads like rock crystals, carnelian, amber, and glass.
This 32 strand necklace is made of small black glass beads. The most notable section is the clasp, which dates this piece to the early 20th century. It is designed with polychromatic glass beads connecting the clasp to the strands of black beads, and the two joining parts are a loop made of cotton, and a wooden button.
Circa: 20th Century
Material: Glass beads, bone, fabric
Dimensions: 15" Drop
Inventory number: JL3628