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Chest ornament

  • chest ornament
  • India (Land); Naga, Ao-Naga (ethnic group); Nagaland (region)
  • Claudia Obrocki
  • 2nd half of 19th century

This chest ornament was reserved for high-ranking men. According to the collection’s documentation, the rows of cowrie shells symbolise the teeth of the enemy. Every Ao-Naga settlement has its own village council. Today, each Naga village also elects a mayor whose office is part of the Indian administrative system.

Detailed information

Object type
chest ornament
Claudia Obrocki
Date of Origin
2nd half of 19th century
Exhibition Format
wood; woven plant fibres; dyed goat hair; cowrie shells; orchid stems
wood; woven plant fibres; dyed goat hair; cowrie shells; orchid stems
23 x 54 x 3 cm H x B x T
< 2 kg
Places / Cultures
India (Land); Naga, Ao-Naga (ethnic group); Nagaland (region)
EM South and Southeast Asia
Exhibition / Module
A07 (WAF 55) Naga Land - Voices from Northeast India / A07 (WAF 55) 02 Headhunting
Managing Institution
Ethnologisches Museum - Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Ethnologisches Museum - Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
I C 28461
Acquisition Context / Provenance
The Ethnologisches Museum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin or the Königliches Museum für Völkerkunde (a predecessor institution), acquired the object in 1896 by donation from the Samuel E. Peal collection.
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