"Dao": cleaver of the Naga man.
The "Nagas" are an ethnic group with an unmistakable common identity living in northeastern India and Myanmar in a particularly rugged area, in and around the Indian state of Nagaland. They are associated with the Adivasi (scheduled tribes).
The Nagas are among the last groups of headhunters in Asia: their courage was measured by the number of severed heads of vanquished warriors belonging to enemy tribes. In the 1930s, most communities converted to Christianity after christian missionaries visited the region.
The 'dao' is both the weapon and the Naga man's tool. He uses it for agriculture, for building houses, for working wood, cutting hair and, in times of war, for fighting the enemy and head-hunting.
There is a wide variety in terms of the shape and length of both the handle and the blade of the dao. Only the ceremonial daos were decorated with long pieces of goat hair.
The iron sheath was given a high value so that it was even used as a means of payment. When a Naga warrior died, his dao was buried lying next to the body.
The dao is worn on the back in a wooden shell with the blade facing downwards.
(Ao, Cham, Phom, Konyak tribes, Nagaland).
- Total nr of items
- Indigenous object name
- Ethnic group/ culture
- Region/ country
- Northeast India / Myanmar
- Bamboo, colored goat hair, Iron, Wood
- Mid 20th century
- Sold with stand
- 61×8×3 cm
- 0.6 kg