Naga Necklace, Brass and Crystal Beads
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 and corals and metals and hard stone beads like rock crystals, carnelian, amber, and glass.
This relatively simple necklace combines three kinds of beads- corals, rock crystal and brass. All these materials were imported. Nagaland is landlocked and Naga tribes neither mine ores nor extract metals from them. Rock crystals were imported from Burma.
Circa: Early 20th century
Material: Brass/Coral/Crystal Beads
Dimensions: 13" Drop
Inventory number: JL3623