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