Chief's dao from India, Asia. Collected by John Henry Hutton. Given to the Museum in 1923.
The dao of the Nagas of north-east India is related, in more than name alone, to the swords of China (dao), Borneo (mandau) and Burma (dha). However, the Naga dao is more diverse than a sword, being an all-purpose tool for agriculture, woodworking, slaughtering, butchery, ceremony and even warfare.
This dao has a short, axe-like blade with two large indentations. The handle is decorated with tufts of goats hair dyed red, black and white. The Naga consist of over 30 tribes, all of whom used daos and whose warrior or elite males wore ornaments and accessories to distinguish themselves from the commoner classes. This example belonged to a chief of the Konyak Naga, a group of the Naga Hills renowned for their blacksmiths.