Late 19th century, 107 x 138 cm, North East India
Naga is a collective term applied to some thirty different tribes with highly diverse cultural traditions living in the north east of India. This ceremonial man’s shawl once belonged to a headhunter and is probably from a chieftain’s family. A woven cotton cloth, it consists of a black-brown central section and black and brown border stripes at the upper and lower ends. The 56 small red embroidered squares enhancing the field consist of dyed dog hair. The 24 white cowrie shell circles stitched to the ground are moon symbols. The most striking feature is a large human figure in the style of a line drawing, also composed of white cowrie shells. Naga textiles only began to appear in the market in the 1970s, usually in India or, more rarely, in colonial Britain. A shawl in the Australian National Gallery (inv. no. 1986.1923) compares well. – Well preserved.
MAXWELL 1990, Nr. 143, S. 103