Vintage Shell Ear Covers Buffalo Design, India (1640EKE) $250


Ht: 5.25″  W: 3.75″  D: 2″ | FREE SHIPPING in continental u.s.!

This unique rare and fascinating vintage carved Naga tribe conch shell ear cover from India is decorated with a traditional abstract motif of curved buffalo horns with the buffalo’s head and neck inside the V-shaped horns. Mounted on a frosted acrylic base, it would make a dramatic presentation when displayed with Naga Shell Ear Coverings 1639A and 1639B.


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 like this one and a standing human  with raised arms, hands and fingers spread. Unlike the frontal male in a wide stance, the buffalo horn design has no stippled outline around the shell  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. Headhunting was ended by the influence of Christian missionaries near the end of the 19th century. 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 complement any decor and is especially impressive as part of the three similar ear coverings with 1639A-GKE and 1639B-EKE.

Additional information

Weight 2 lbs
Dimensions 8 × 8 × 8 in
Place of Origin



Vintage (1920-1980)

Materials and Technique


Dimensions (inches)

Ht; 5.25" W: 3.75" D: 2"

Dimensions (metric)

Ht: 13.35cm W: 9.52cm D: 5.08cm


1 lb 5 0z


Excellent, age appropriate signs of wear

Item Number


Shipping Box Size