NAGA, HAT AND NECKLACE, INDIA/BURMA
Hat; Early 20th c.; Woven fiber, dyed goat hair, human hair; On stand: 10' x 13' x 7"; Necklace; Early 20th c.; Teeth, beads, fiber; On stand: 19" x 12" x 3"; Provenance; Allan Stone Collection, New York; Condition note: Professionally
Sale Price: $313
Estimate: $500 - $900
The Naga are an ethnic minority of hill tribes living in Northeast India and Burma. As headhunters, they were feared and avoided by their neighbors, allowing them to develop a distinctive material culture and a complex system of norms and taboos. Though now fervent Christians, the Naga's ancient customs and habits remain alive under a layer of Christian devotion. Much of Naga life revolves around the acquisition of prestige, especially for men. Ceremonial hats, embellished with animal horns and furs are associated with male power and fertility. The boar tusk is the insignia of a warrior. Male basket weavers make Naga hats with a split bamboo frame covered with plaited cane. The hats, similar in shape and construction, but with different embellishments and meaning, are worn by many Naga groups in India and Burma during community celebrations. (Celebrations used to revolve around the taking of enemy heads and the killing of dangerous animals, activities that gave prestige to the individuals involved and brought fertility to the community.) This particular Naga hat is a fine example in good condition.
Fiercely Modern: Art of the Naga Warrior, Rubin Museum of Art, April 26, 2013, through September 16, 2013 Sumberg, Bobbie. Textiles: Collection of the Museum of International Folk Art, Gibbs Smith, 2010, p. 110