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Naga Warrior Ceremonial Shield, 18th-19th Century
Proceeding from the cultural area of influence of the Naga people, this stunning piece is made of animal skin and decorated with horse hair. It holds a wooden grip on its rear and has white lineal designs created with natural pigments, showing the particularly refined aesthetic views of the Naga people. The Nagas are a conglomeration of different tribes native to the northeastern part of India and northwestern part of Myanmar. Although they speak over 89 different languages and dialects –mostly unintelligible with each other-, they share a similar culture and customs. They have a strong warrior tradition and are recognized as expert artisans. Naga shields are surrounded by numerous rituals and taboos. Particularly during its manufacture, purity has to be maintained and food restrictions observed. Thus, all of them have to be inspected by the village shaman and before performing war or victory dances, it is customary among the Naga to place all shields and weapons around sacred fire.
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