Original Konyak Naga belt, one of two collected during the 1970's by my father Bernard Heaphy, out of Nepal. The belt is in an excellent and stable condition, with wear marks commensurate with the late colonial period, ie early 20th century. The belt has been in our collection in Australia since then.
During the 70's, many genuine Naga pieces could still be found via Nepal and northern Thailand. These are now rarely available, and there is a thriving fake market operating out of Delhi, India. Fakes, however, are beautiful and intricate pieces in their own right. Belts are rare even as fakes, but are valued in the region of $200 - 300.
This beautiful tribal belt is strung with orange, red, green, yellow and brown ceramic trade beads and small hand cast bronze bells with bone and black wood spacers. The belt is strung on native cotton twine (there is a small repair with modern twine on the loop) and is finished with a large shell button and four shell decorative rounds cut from the large marine gastropod mollusc Turbinara sp, sourced from the Bay of Bengal. Typically, shell was used by inland cultures to indicate wealth and status, because of the costs associated with transportation inland.
Length 84 cm (33 in)
Note that similar examples may be found in Jacobs 1990.
Jacobs, J., The Nagas: Hill Peoples of Northeast India, Thames & Hudson, 1990.
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