Naga Shell Slice, Antique, Narrow 1/2 x 3 inches


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  • Narrow antique Naga shell slice 1/2 by 3 inches
  • Chank shell slices, tube beads and discs all served as high status adornment elements among the Nagas.
  • Part of the old shell cutting industry in South India, they are at least 125-150 years old at this point, as the demise of that industry occurred that long ago. Newer shells now come from the Bay of Bengal
  • Each Naga tribe gravitated to one or more shapes and wore them in jewelry distinct to that tribe. Angami wore shell slices in large beaded necklaces.
  • Chang, used one, or a few large disc shells only, in necklaces, and highly polished ovalized discs as ear ornaments for warriors.
  • Wealthy Ao tribe women wore smaller discs in a string of 10 – 12 on a macrame backing as a choker.
  • Each tribe had its own regulations as to the acquisition and usage of shell elements, some more restrictive than others. For example, certain pieces in one tribe may have only been worn by women, while the opposite was true in another tribe.
  • See The Nagas, by Julian Jacobs, for images of how shells were worn.