Still one of the world’s most isolated societies, the Naga of mountainous northeastern India are talented artisans that create everything they need from the natural resources of their native land. They are particularly adept at carving wood, which they have a lot of. This carved wooden totem depicts six Mithun buffalo heads, topped by one deer. Though abstract, it embodies the characteristics of the bull: wide horns, long ears, a flat forehead and short snout. This piece is outfitted with a custom metal stand. Totems were often placed in front of a Naga village's most important structure, the morung hall, a dormitory for young men. It serves as a critical institution dedicated to educating the village’s adolescent boys as they transition into adulthood (and become warriors). Every three years a new group is inducted each of which requires new carvings, which are placed at the entrance of the hall. The ornamentation on each totem represents the group’s successes. The Mithun bull silhouette symbolizes wealth.
- Origin | Nagaland, India
- Dimensions | 36"W x 15.25"D x 84"H
- Age | c.1900
- Material | Saal wood
- ID | 22T01141
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