Jessica Lindsay Phillips Shares Tribal Art and Oddities

Jessica Lindsay Phillips is a dealer on CBC TV's new series Four Rooms. She's a world traveller who will go almost anywhere to uncover the most rare and unusual objects. Here Jessica shares a sampling from her personal collection, a mixture of unusual and tribal items, each with its own great story.

[fourrooms]

Spears

Ceremonial spears from Nagaland, India

Ceremonial spears from Nagaland, India

Each spear is decorated with goat hair dyed in black and red, two of which would have been held by one person while hunting. The hunters who used these spears believed they were part animal.

Shields

Shields, Mehndi Valley, Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea

Shields, Mehndi Valley, Southern Highlands, Papua New Guinea

Shields were decorated with images of what they were meant to protect, in this case people. Each shield is about 135 cm long.

Cannibal Fork

Cannibal Fork

Made of wood, from Fiji Islands

Yes, this sculptural fork is a real cannibal fork, used to consume humans. The biggest insult you can get from a cannibal is that they don't eat you... they wouldn't eat everyone they killed!

Skulls

Skull From Guanantuna (Tolai) People, Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain 20c

From Guanantuna (Tolai) People, Gazelle Peninsula, New Britain 20c

Decorated with mud and paint, this is a real ancestral skull used as a mask. The skull, originating from a secret society, is covered in clay pigment mud and real hair. They would bite the bit at the mouth area and look through the eyes of their ancestors.

Chief's skull from Nagaland, India
Chief's skull from Nagaland, India

This skull is marked across its brow to prove it's that of an actual chief. It was collected to empower the village.

18th Century Figurehead

Wood carving of female, 18c

Wood carving of female, 18c

A figurehead of the front of a ship from the 18th century, it was used at one point to bring power and good luck to a ship at sea. Now it's purely decorative.

Necklaces

Women's necklace, chief's necklace

Woman's necklace, Nagaland, India

Made of shells.

Chief's necklace, Nagaland, India

Coral and turquoise, this chief's necklace belonged to a headhunter for power.

Macabre Victorian Curios

Macabre Victorian Curios

Momento mortis, Curio, Paris, France
Momento mortis, Curio, United Kingdom

These are curios used in the Victorian era to remember the dead (instead of photography). Hair was hardened and preserved using egg yolks, with some people using it to make jewelry. Hair's the easiest to preserve over hundreds of years because it's already dead! The easiest place to find these macabre curios is in France.

Tent Warmer

Tent Warmer

From Cairo, Egypt

As the name suggests, this was used to warm tents. Made of brass, it's two feet high with its lid, and two feet in diameter.

Two-Headed Animals

Two-Headed Animals

A natural occuring phenomenon, two-headed animals don't live long. They're certainly rare oddities!

Four Rooms' Jessica Lindsay Phillips with Steven and Chris

 

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