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Old 6th August 2009, 05:58 PM   #1
trenchwarfare
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Default Head Hunter Weapons

Greetings, eteemed panel. I have embarked upon the ghoulish task of compiling a head hunter museum. It will cover from ancient times, to the present day. From cultural/ethnographic, to military. Have been collecting well made facsimile trophy heads, for a few years. Now, I need the weapons to go with them. What Pacific Island Clubs/edged weapons, belong to which head hunting group? What type weapons were used by Central, and South American head hunters? Which African groups practiced hh, and what weapons did they use? And, any cross-over weapons. The list goes on and on. I am aware of most of the obvious weapons. Sold a beautiful Mandau, and a Kampilan, a few years ago. Haven't been able to get my hands on a Kalinga, yet. I'm sure you guys see where I going with this. Any information will be greatly appreciated. M.P.
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Old 6th August 2009, 07:07 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trenchwarfare
Greetings, eteemed panel. I have embarked upon the ghoulish task of compiling a head hunter museum. It will cover from ancient times, to the present day. From cultural/ethnographic, to military. Have been collecting well made facsimile trophy heads, for a few years. Now, I need the weapons to go with them. What Pacific Island Clubs/edged weapons, belong to which head hunting group? What type weapons were used by Central, and South American head hunters? Which African groups practiced hh, and what weapons did they use? And, any cross-over weapons. The list goes on and on. I am aware of most of the obvious weapons. Sold a beautiful Mandau, and a Kampilan, a few years ago. Haven't been able to get my hands on a Kalinga, yet. I'm sure you guys see where I going with this. Any information will be greatly appreciated. M.P.

Well, maybe you can get that mandau you sol back.
I think of the kamplian as a Moro weapon and therefore not a good candidate for a headhunters museum. I presume by Kalinga you are referring to Kalinga axe, as the term Kalinga refers to many things.
Good luck with this project.
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Old 6th August 2009, 09:10 PM   #3
KuKulzA28
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I've entertained the thought before too, but my wallet said no
may you be able to complete this vast endeavor. Maybe start in a small area?
well here's a list for thought... some of these may not apply
Qin Chinese sword
Da Dao
Taiwanese aboriginal blades (in Atayal it is called Laraw)
Bontoc/Kalinga/Ifugao Ax, etc.
Panabas
Mandau / Parang Ihlang
Sumpitan
Papua New Guinean bows and arrows, adz/ax
Pacific island (Vanatu?) garrotes and clubs?
WW2 American soldiers' arms (Japanese heads)
WW2 Japanese solder's arms (other people's heads)
Aztec axes and macuahuitl
Central and South American blowguns?
Chilean Corvo
Congo "execution" swords?
Celtic swords/axes
Guillotine

some of these were surely great choppers of necks but...
not necessarily part of a ritualized, male, violent pseudo-predatory combative role in society.

some of these are examples of head-taking as trophies of war, or as part of executions
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Old 7th August 2009, 02:27 AM   #4
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I'd have a hard time referring to the Moro groups as 'Headhunters' ; decapitators, yes .

Headhunting to me connotes the taking and ritual collection of heads as an integral part of the society .

I don't believe this can be said of the Moros; if it can then many European societies were 'Headhunters' also .
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Old 7th August 2009, 03:51 AM   #5
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The reason I list the Kampilan, is that I have a reference that attributes it's origin, to the Sea Dayaks. Who were notorious headhunters. In fact, I read that they would hire themselves out to the Maylays, as mercenaries. "Will fight for heads!" And that's all that they wanted. My research has revealed, that almost every culture, has been headhunters, at one time, or another. If not heads, some other body part(s). A question, are there any headhunter groups, that used the Talibon?
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Old 7th August 2009, 12:29 PM   #6
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The kukri & the kora have also taken lots of heads for many different reasons over the years.

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Old 7th August 2009, 04:18 PM   #7
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An interesting topic, and truly a formidable task Trenchwarfare! All the more so because discussion and research on this subject can easily lead to misperceptions and inadvertantly inflammatory comments on specific ethnic groups.
As was once well said by Alan Maisey, we must be cautious in examining cultural and traditional practices of certain ethnic and tribal groups, as we cannot guage such practices by our standards. I once read a book, I cannot recall the title now, but it was to the effect of headhunting in the Solomon Islands. The title itself was frankly bone chilling, but intriguing and as an always curious student of anthropology, I was compelled to go through it.

Naturally sensational accounts using the headhunter term abound in adventure narratives of the 20's and 30's, and I am pretty sure that our local sage on Oceanic and native tribes of various Pacific and other archipelagos, Vandoo, can present some great examples with his very discerning perspective revealing actual vs. sensational veneer.

Lets proceed with caution, and I look forward to a great discussion!!!!

All best regards,
Jim
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Old 7th August 2009, 04:35 PM   #8
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I have an article on headhunting in Montenegro, "Head-Hunting in the Balkans", Durham M. Edith, Man Vol23 (1923):19-21, if anyone is interested. Apparently a late-19th early 20th centuries practice in some parts of Montenegro, of young men bringing back Ottoman and other heads as trophies. There are anecdotes of women going into "enemy" camps by night to recuperate the heads of loved ones. Hunting was carried out with "khanjars", no pictures are given, but I'm assuming this refers to yataghan and karakulaks.
An interesting read.

Emanuel
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Old 7th August 2009, 05:17 PM   #9
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Yes Emanuel, would be very interested. I have found numerous accounts of the collecting of heads, throughout the balkan region. Especially during WWII. On a website, I saw a picture of the head or a Colonel on a table. There was also a picture of a man, being decapitated with a big wood saw! Looked like the same Colonel. Even photos of childrens heads. It is rumored that the practice was revived, during the "Ethnic Cleansing" of the 1990's. I know it was revived big time, During WWII in the Pacific. This could have led many US personnel to follow suit, especially, if he saw the locals doing it. Very morid, but fasinating subject. The search goes on
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Old 7th August 2009, 06:14 PM   #10
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I have to agree with Jim about the care and caution part.

One question is where to draw the line: Scalps, for instance? How about modern terrorists?

I have a certain (probably romantic) sympathy with the tropical tribesmen who needed to kill a man in another tribe in order to become a man themselves. In a hostile environment, this type of reciprocal headhunting limited the population, allowing them to live sustainably (whether they intended it or not). Conversely, I don't want to see any more videos of hostages getting beheaded, and I'm uninterested in collecting Iraqi swords that are capable of the deed. Where to draw the line is the hard part.

Best,

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Old 7th August 2009, 06:23 PM   #11
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Smile Heads Of The Rebel Beys

Just for fun ?
Jean Leon Gerome .

http://www.painting-in-oil.com/enlarge-id-9265.html
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Old 8th August 2009, 07:16 AM   #12
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I MAY BE SOMEWHAT OF A PURIST IN REGARD TO HEADHUNTER IN ITS PURE ETHINOGRAPHIC SENSE. BIG WORDS FOR SUCH A GORY SUBJECT

TRIBES WHO TOOK HEADS FOR REASONS HAVING TO DO WITH THEIR 1.TRIBAL BELIEFS,
2. TO PROVE THEMSELVES WORTHY AS A WARRIOR AND PROTECTOR OF THEIR VILLAGE AND FAMILY AND TO OBTAIN A WIFE.
3. FOR THE SPIRITUAL PROTECTION AND WELL BEING OF THE VILLAGE
4. TO AVENGE TRIBAL MEMBERS OR ANCESTORS WHO HAD LOST THEIR HEAD TO THEIR ENEMYS. THIS WAS SORT OF A SPIRITUAL BALANCING OF THE BOOKS AS THE VILLAGE LOST SPIRITUAL POWER WHEN THEY LOST A MEMBER TO ANOTHER TRIBE AND GAINED IT BACK WHEN THEY TOOK A HEAD FROM THAT TRIBE. A TRIBE WITH MORE HEADS TAKEN WAS CONSIDERED TO HAVE STRONGER PROTECTION FROM EVIL SPIRITS AS WELL AS THE ENEMY.

THESE TRIBES I REFER TO AS HEADHUNTERS AS IT FITS INTO THEIR BELIEF SYSTEM AND THOUGH IN A WAY IT IS A COMPETICIAN OR SPORT IT WAS MUCH MORE THAN THAT TO THE SOCIETIES INVOLVED.

HEADS HAVE BEEN TAKEN FOR MANY REASONS FOR PUBLIC EXHIBITION AS IN RICKS PAINTING WHERE IT IS PLACED ON DISPLAY AS A WARNING TO EVERYONE THAT THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS TO THOSE WHO OPPOSE US. SUCH DISPLAYS DO NOT COUNT AS HEADHUNTING AND NEITHER DOES THE FREQUENT USE OF THE GUILLOTINE DURING THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. AS TO BEHEADINGS BY TERRORISTS IT IS AN ACT OF BARBARISM SHOWING THEY DO NOT CARE WHAT CIVILIZED PEOPLE THINK AND WILL DO AS THEY PLEASE. THEY HOPE IT WILL SCARE EVERYONE AND THEY WILL GAIN POWER FROM SUCH ACTS AND IF IT WORKS THEN THEY CAN DO EVEN MORE HORRIBLE THINGS WHEN THEY WISH. THE BEHEADINGS DURING WW2 WERE SEEN AS EXECUTIONS BY THE JAPENESE AND IF OTHER TROUPS DID IT WAS EITHER EXECUTION OR RETALIATION. EVEN THE RECENT DAYAK VERSUS IMMIGRATES HEAD TAKEING WAS MORE OF A TERROR TACTIC AND NOT A RETURN BY THE DAYAKS TO THEIR OLD TRIBAL BELIEFS AND WAYS. SO I CONSIDER NONE OF THESE ACTIONS TO BE HEADHUNTING.

HEADHUNTING WAS A COMMON PRACTICE BECAUSE EARLY ON MAN FIGURED OUT THE CENTER OF A MANS SPIRIT WAS IN HIS HEAD AND THAT WAS NO DOUBT THE STRONGEST SPIRITUAL PART OF A BODY AND IF THE OBJECT WAS TO CONTROL THIS SPIRIT FOR THE GOOD OF THE TRIBE THEY WOULD KEEP THE STRONGEST PART. SOMETIMES FEET OR HANDS WERE CUT OFF, PERHAPS THRU SOME SUPERSTITION THAT IF THIS WAS DONE THE SPIRIT COULD NOT CAUSE THE BODY TO FOLLOW AND SEEK REVENGE BY BRINGING BAD LUCK OR SICKNESS ON THE VILLAGE. BESIDES THE SKULL IS DEFINITELY THE MOST FACINATING BONE IN THE BODY.

TRIBES WHO HEADHUNTED BY TRADITION AND BELIEF WERE MANY
1. THE NAGA AND WILD TRIBES IN INDIA AND SURROUNDING REGIONS
2. QUITE A FEW TRIBES IN THE PHILIPPINES AND I SUSPECT AS IT WAS SO COMMON THERE IT IS LIKELY THE MORO'S ANCESTORS PRACTICED IT EVEN IF THE MOROS LATER DISCARDED THE PAGAN BELIEFS AND JUST ENJOYED BEHEADING AN ENEMY AS A FORM OF EXECUTION.
3. TAIWAN ABORIGINALS
4. SOLOMON ISLANDS
5. MANY ISLANDS IN WHAT IS NOW INDONESIA OR MALAYSIA THIS INCLUDES BORNEO
6. SEVERAL COUNTRIES IN SOUTH AMERICA AND NO DOUBT SOME TRIBES IN NORTH AMERICA AS WELL IF YOU COULD GO FAR ENOUGH BACK BEFORE THE EUROPEANS CAME.
7. THE MAORI OF NEW ZEALAND
8. SOME TRIBES IN NEW GUINEA

MANY OF THESE PEOPLES HAVE LOST THE BELIEFS THAT MADE THIS PRACTICE SO IMPORTANT IN THE PAST. THE REASONS ARE MANY INVASION AND SUBJIGATION BY A CULTURE OUTSIDE THEIR OWN BEING ONE. MUSEUMS OR COLLECTORS COMING INTO THE AREA AND OFFERING GREAT RICHES FOR HEADS. MANY MAORI WERE KILLED NOT FOR TRIBAL REASONS BUT BECAUSE THEIR NICELY TATOOED HEAD DRIED AND SMOKED PROPERLY COULD BE TRADED FOR A GUN OR SEVERAL STEEL AXES TO THE FORIGENERS. THE SAME THING HAPPENED IN SOUTH AMERICA WITH SHRUNKEN HEADS. THERE WERE EVEN MEDICAL MEN WHO TOOK THE HEADS OF THOSE WHO DIED OF THYPHOID AND OTHER MALIDIES AND SHRUNK THEIR HEADS FOR SALE AND THERE WERE EVEN SOME EXAMPLES WHERE THEY SHRUNK THE ENTIRE BODY.

THE ORIGINAL HEADHUNTING PRACTICE PROBABLY AROSE FROM A QUEST BY TRIBAL MAN TO PROTECT HIMSELF FROM THE SPIRITUAL WORLD OF THOSE WHO HAD ALREADY DIED AS WELL AS OTHER SPIRITS AND UNKNOWN THINGS. IT MUST HAVE BEEN A VERY OLD INSTINCTIVE FEELING IN MAN AS IT CROPPED UP IN MANY PLACES AND DIFFERENT RACES FOR MUCH THE SAME REASONS AND BELIEFS.
PARDON MY RAMBELINGS BUT THATS MY SPIN ON IT. GOOD LUCK ON YOUR PROJECT
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Old 8th August 2009, 07:42 PM   #13
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Not a ramble at all, Vandoo. I do plan to keep pretty much to purpose headhunting, for religious, or cultural beliefs. There will be a few wartime examples. Speaking of Maori heads, I read that slaves were often tatooed to order. Once the tatoos healed. They were killed, the head dried, and sold to the perspective buyer. Headhunting was always frowned upon, by colonial powers, and abolished. However when a controlling entity wanted other tribal lands, permission would be granted, to "take a few heads", just to creat an incident. Once retalliation took place. Government troops could be sent in to "pacify", the beligerants. I would love to see pictures of any trophy heads, that board members have. I can't remember who's collection had some Asmat heads.
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Old 8th August 2009, 07:46 PM   #14
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Calling Bill Marsh. But they could also be ancester skulls. Which were kept around the home as old friends.
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Old 9th August 2009, 12:03 AM   #15
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Interesting project, hope you can share some pics of the finished work when you have it together.

You may want a shield (plate 1 bottom right) to go with your Kalinga Axe. Krieger on page 96 describes how the shield was used to sweep an opponents legs with the top prongs and then pin the fallen's neck with the bottom two prongs in order to facilitate the taking of the head.

good luck with the project!
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Old 9th August 2009, 02:31 AM   #16
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Don't forget the Japanese Kubikiri
http://www.geocities.com/alchemyst/unji.htm

Any other body parts? Khevsurs collected right hands and nailed them to the walls of their houses. "Good Housekeeping" still views it as somewhat decadent decoration technique.

Do you have a name for your museum? How about : "The Sleeping Hollow"?
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Old 9th August 2009, 04:22 AM   #17
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I meant to add, I know that Asmat heads aren't trophies. Just revered ancestors, and such. Quite possibly because, the Asmat, were cannibals. In my research, I have found that: Headhunters are rarely cannibals, and cannibals, are rarely headhunters. Yes, I plan to do other body parts as well. Too many gruesome, gory, tid-bits, not too. There's, scalps, ears, arm bone whistles, and belly skin drums. The list goes on and on.
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Old 9th August 2009, 09:37 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trenchwarfare
Headhunters are rarely cannibals, and cannibals, are rarely headhunters.
In the rule that looks true to me, but exceptions there are for sure!
Carl Bock for instance writes in his book about a fearsome dayakgroup in the Kutai area (east Borneo) who were eating parts of their beheaded victims.
I thought he called them the "Tring" dayaks. But I am not 100% sure, I will look it up to confirm when I have some time soon.
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Old 9th August 2009, 06:09 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maurice
In the rule that looks true to me, but exceptions there are for sure!
Carl Bock for instance writes in his book about a fearsome dayakgroup in the Kutai area (east Borneo) who were eating parts of their beheaded victims.
I thought he called them the "Tring" dayaks. But I am not 100% sure, I will look it up to confirm when I have some time soon.

Yes Maurice, there were reports that the Tring were also cannibals, though this is some question as to whether or not these reports were exaggerated or not.
Here is a print of a Tring warrior from Carl Bock.
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Old 9th August 2009, 11:48 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David
Yes Maurice, there were reports that the Tring were also cannibals, though this is some question as to whether or not these reports were exaggerated or not.
Here is a print of a Tring warrior from Carl Bock.
Thank you David, I now don't have to sniff in the book anymore. And I agree with you on the exaggeration part. He also wrote about his willing badly to meet the "tailed-people" which he never found ofcourse. (but he didn't exaggerate and wrote that he met them on that part ).
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Old 10th August 2009, 04:04 AM   #21
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A ESPECIALLY NICE IKAT (CEREMONIAL WOVEN FABRIC/ART) CLOSED ON EBAY #280379146499 THESE WEAVINGS OFTEN TELL A STORY OF THE BELIEFS AND CUSTOMS OF THE TRIBE WHO MADE THEM AND IF A PERSON UNDERSTOOD THEY COULD LEARN QUITE A LOT ABOUT THE CUSTOMS AND BELIEFS. THIS ONE HAS A VERY GOOD REPRESENTATION OF THE SKULL TREES JUST OUTSIDE THE VILLAGE WHERE SKULLS WERE LEFT TO ROT AND TO BE WON OVER TO GIVING THEIR SPIRITUAL POWER TO THE VILLAGE WHO KILLED THEM. THIS ONE IS FROM SUMBA/TIMOR INDONESIA. ONCE THE SPIRITS WERE WON OVER THEY COULD SAFELY BE BROUGHT INTO THE VILLAGE.

I HAVE SEEN THE SALAMPASU TRIBE OF AFRICA REFEREDTO AS HEADHUNTERS BUT DON'T KNOW THE PARTICULARS. SEVERAL TRIBES HAVE STRANGE FORMS OF EXECUTION BUT I DON'T KNOW WHAT PART THE BEHEADING PLAYED OR IF THE HEADS WERE KEPT.

IN NEW GUINEA AS MENTIONED THERE ARE THE HEADS OF ANCESTORS KEPT AND IN SOME AREAS THEY HAVE THEIR OWN LITTLE WOODCARVED BASE CALLED A KORWAR. I HAVE SEEN SKULL RACKS WITH MANY SKULLS AS WELL AND SUSPECT THOSE WERE THE SKULLS FROM THE ENEMY.

SKULLS AND OTHER BODY PARTS WERE USED AT TIMES AS BOUNDARY MARKERS A SORT OF NO TRESSPASSING SIGN. IN THE AZTEC CITIES THERE WERE VERY LARGE SKULL RACKS WITH THE SKULLS OF THOSE SACRIFICED TO THE GODS. THERE WAS A SPECIAL SKULL PLATFORM FOR THE BEST BALL PLAYER OF THE GAMES NEAR THE MAIN STADIUM WHERE THE IMPORTANT BALL GAMES WERE PLAYED. IF YOU WERE VOTED BEST PLAYER YOU HAD THE HONOR OF BEING SACRIFICED AND YOUR SKULL JOINED ALL THE OTHER GREAT PLAYERS ON THE PODIUM.

AS TO CANNIBALS NOT BEING HEADHUNTERS IT WOULD DEPEND IF THEY ATE THE HEAD IF SO NO TROPHY. IN FIJI THEY USUALLY FINISHED OFF A ENEMY WITH A HEAVY CLUB STRIKE TO THE HEAD WHICH WOULD CAUSE DAMMAGE AND I THINK BRAINS WERE A FAVORED DISH. THE TEETH WERE OFTEN KEPT AND SOMETIMES USED FOR INLAY IN WAR CLUBS AND SUCH.
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