Incredible images show ancient headhunting tribe before they vanish forever
These incredible photographs taken by Aman Chotani, show the beauty of the ancient Head Hunters of the Konyak tribe of Nagaland, India.
The 29-year-old photographer from Delhi took the images in Mon Village & Longwa Village, Nagaland, India for his first book, “The Last Avatar”, which aims to tell the stories of Indian tribes and cultures before they vanish and are forgotten.
Aman explained that Head Hunting was the war-art of capturing the head of an enemy, which was seen as a rite of passage for young boys to turn into men.
But the customs that the Konyak tribe once practiced and celebrated are now dying with the headhunters.
Aman said: “By the 1960’s, the younger generations adopted newer lifestyles and cultures, causing the culture that ultimately embodied who they were, to disappear.
“But to the great elders of the Konyak tribe, head hunting, as strange as it may seem to those outside of the culture, had its purpose.”
Capturing the head of an enemy meant to capture the spirit that the enemy had, and was largely seen as a sign of unwavering courage and bravery.
The Konyaks were once known as war-loving people who would attack enemy tribes, taking the heads of that tribes warriors, and taking their decapitated prizes home.
These skull-like trophies were then hung in communal houses called Morong’s and were put on display for all to see, admire, and appreciate.
The more heads a warrior had, the more powerful he was. The display was done simply to show off the skill, strength, and prowess of that particular warrior, and was a sign of power to his tribe.
Aman said: “What happens when a culture vanishes? What happens when traditions, folklore, spirituals, and lifestyle fly by the wayside, never to be seen or heard of again?
“That’s a question that those of the Konyak tribe in Nagaland ask themselves, and the last of the headhunters are forced to watch the new generation disregard or simply never learn of the culture that the generations and ancestors before them held close to their hearts.
“When I saw this place the first thing I thought was that it looked, untouched, so beautiful and simple.
“I have always been inspired by the stories of the Indian tribes of India. Their life, their journey and their commitment and dedication towards the life they lead.
“Its a tribute to the unspoken community of our country before they are lost forever.”