Detail Photos

This is a fantastic shawl, with the distinctive pattern of the Ao Naga tribe. This kind of garment was worn by someone who had earned the right to wear such an ornate shawl by demonstrating prowess in battle and / or offering a series of merit generating feasts to their village. This is the old style shawl with the design drawn on with pigment inks, rather than embroidered. The embellished strip in the center of the shawl shows linear patterns typical of the Naga, as well as roosters, elephants, sun, moon starts, weapons such as spear and dao, Mithun, warriors, tiger and elephant, etc.

In traditional Naga society the wearing of certain textiles, jewelry, and tattoo designs was subject to an elaborate set of protocols and one's personal ornaments said much about status and one's place in society . In the Naga culture, hosting community feasts and the taking of heads were important aspects of their socio-spiritual system. These activities generated merit and fertility as well as garnering considerable status for the warrior or feast giver. Fertility can be broadly understood in this context to encompass every thing from an individual's own virility and status, to abundant crops and livestock, to the capacity to ward off war raids from other Naga groups, and the increase of all things positive in general for the community. Giving feasts also served equalize economic standing in the community and allowed all community members to enjoy the spoils of wealth so to speak. People did not hoard wealth but rather redistributed it through community feasting, thereby transforming the material wealth into "status". Indeed it was the prestige that accrued that was viewed as "valuable" and not so much the material wealth in and of itself.


ITEM NAME:   Naga Status Shawl
PRICE:   Email 
PEOPLE/REGION:   Ao Naga, Mokokchung, Nagaland


cotton, pigments


Circa mid 20th C. or before


62" Long

42" wide


Please note the item number and kindly e-mail your inquiries.

Visa, American Express, Master Cards and Discover are accepted.


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