Naga Chank Shell Beads, Antique Pair of Large Tubes 3 5/8 x 3/4"


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  • Pair of antique Naga chank shell tubular beads 3 5/8 inches long by 3/4"
  • Most Naga shell beads have holes big enough to accept 1-2mm leather
  • 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 many years ago. Newer shells now come from the Bay of Bengal.
  • Each tribe gravitated to one or more shapes, slices, discs and/or tubes, and wore them in jewelry which was mostly distinct to that tribe.
  • Each tribe also 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.
  • Most shells were cut in South India, but some may have shaped in Nagaland as well. Tubes were definitely drilled out for beading by the Angami Nagas, if not others, in Nagaland itself.