Vintage Shell Ear Cover, Male Figure, India (1639B-GKE) $225


Ht: 5.25″  W: 3.75″  D: 3.75″ | FREE SHIPPING in continental U.S.!

Conch shell ear covers worn by Naga men only are attached to pierced ears using thin natural fiber strings with glass bead, wood or bamboo stoppers. They are made with one of two stippled (engraved, marked with black dots) designs on the shell that is a difficult process. This rare one portrays a standing frontal male in a wide stance with his arms and hands with fingers splayed and held up and an abstract round head atop a long neck and is  a pair with 1639A-GKE.


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 1639A-GKE and 1640EKE.

Additional information

Weight .3 lbs
Dimensions 8 × 8 × 8 in
Place of Origin



Vintage (1920-1980)



Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

H: 4.625". W: 2.125" D: 2.125"

Dimensions (metric)

Ht 11.75cm W: 5.40cm D: 5.40cm




Excellent, age appropriate signs of wear

Item Number


Shipping Box Size