Headhunter’s Trophy – Naga People of India

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Headhunter’s Trophy

 Naga People of India

19th Century / Human skull, mithun horns, fiber..

The Naga people of northeastern India, were headhunter’s until the 1960s. This skull has been combined with the horns of wild bison, or “Mithun”. Since headhunter’s of this tribe wear long curved horns as earrings, this head of a dead enemy is presented as an equal – warrior as fierce as his captor. The chief of the clan would have kept this trophy in the “Morung”, the communal living space of young men in the tribe.


The brochure reads..¬† This headhunter’s trophy reminds us that European notions of death are not universal. It reminded it’s original audience of the strength and success of a warrior rather than his own mortality. These trophies were preserved and displayed in “morungs” [youth dormitories] to inspire young men as they trained to be warriors; the number collected brought prestiege to the tribe.

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