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Original 19th Century Southeast Asian Tribal Headdress

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Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Just obtained from one of America's foremost collectors of Ethnological objects is this Southeast Asian tribal headdress for an individual of considerable status.

It has been suggested that the origins lie with the Moro tribe of the Northern Philippine area known as Mindanao with whom the U.S. Army fought an ongoing war between 1901 after the Philippines were ceded to the U.S. by Spain in 1898. The Moro were not common revolutionaries but rather Muslim extremists.

This head dress may very well be of Moro origins but research leads to think a stronger possibility that it originates from just a little further west, Borneo, from the Iban tribe that lived on the banks of the Mahakkam and Barito rivers in dense jungle conditions. The notable thing about the Iban people is that they were HEAD HUNTERS, not cannibals, they collected human heads as signs of victory and triumph. A gruesome pastime.

Our headdress is made of hand beaten brass profusely inlaid with silver of substantial construction consisting of a wide two inch band surrounding the head with three 4.5 peaks to the front like teeth each topped with a flute from which spouts tufts of, apparently, human hair.

Each peak bears two linked ring chains, each suspending a small bell. The inlaid silver design covers the entire Headpiece and depicts a series of stickmen like designs amid geometrical patterns.

There are four small holes in the lower edge of the helmet indicating that at one time it had some style of liner.

This could have been used by a witchdoctor, shaman or tribal elder.

It is reminiscent of the crown worn by Danial Dravitt in the wonderful movie sting Sean Connery

and Michael Caine, "THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING". Unfortunately, we do not have a well rotted skull to display with this. So whether this is Moro tribe or an Iban headhunter it is of exceptional quality and unique.


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