Incised Conch Shell 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 ten strand Angami Naga necklace is made of carnelian and glass beads, conch-shell columella beads and bone. The clasp is made of a polished and incised conch shell with a poker-work design.



Circa: Early 20th century

Origin: India

Material: Shell,Beads, Bone, Carnelian

Condition: Excellent

Dimensions: 19" X 10" W

Inventory number: JL3627



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