Vintage Shell Ear Cover, Human Figure, India (1639A-GKE) $225


H: 4.625″  W: 2.5″  D: 2.125″ | FREE SHIPPING in continental u.S.

This rare conch shell Naga ear cover  worn by men only were attached to their pierced ears. It is decorated with a stippled (black dots) abstract design of a male with arms, hands and fingers up and a round head extending from a very long neck. This is a pair with 1639B-GKE and, in contrast to the other major design used for ear covers, the shell’s edge has a stippled outline near the edge framing the entire image. It is mounted on a modern frosted Acrylic base that blend well with any interior scheme.


Nagaland conch shell ear covers are worn by men and attached to their pierced ears through a hole in the shell using thin natural fiber strings with glass, wood or bamboo bead stoppers. They are usually decorated with one of two stippled (engraved, marked with black dots) images: an abstraction of curved buffalo horns with the buffalo’s neck and head inside the V-shaped horns and a standing human  with raised arms, hands and fingers spread. This frontal male in a wide stance has a round head atop a long neck. A pair with 1639B-GKE, it is unlike the design representing bison horns and the shell’s edge also has a stippled outline framing the entire image. The Naga are a collection of tribal ethnic groups in India and Myanmar (Burma) with a similar culture including a headhunting tradition in its past. They believed head-taking was a sign of courage and the head taken increased both individual and collective tribal power. Their culture was ended by Christian missionary influence near the end of the 19th century when headhunting tradition ceased. Secluded from other cultures until the middle of the 20th century, the Naga have excellent artistic skills using a large variety of materials: shells, wood, stone, glass, horns, tusks, bone, animal teeth and metal . Our ethnic Naga ear covers were collected in the 1970’s and were been made circa 1920-1930. This piece has a minor shell chip on the right but is excellent condition. It is mounted on a modern uniquely-crafted frosted Acrylic base to fit any decor and is especially impressive as part of the three similar ear coverings with 1639B-GKE and 1640EKE.

Additional information

Weight 0.3 lbs
Dimensions 8 × 8 × 8 in
Place of Origin






Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht: 4.625" W: 2.5" D" 2.125"

Dimensions (metric)

Ht 11.75cm W: 5.40cm D: 5.40cm


.2 oz


Excellent, See Descripton

Item Number


Shipping Box Size