Global Art & Artifacts

Custom Made Replica of an Authentic Human Shrunken Head / Tsantsa. Javaro. Ecuador

Click the photo above for a larger version and more pictures

The process of shrinking a human head was an art that has religious significance.  For the Jivaroan People (and others), this act was meant to control the avenging spirit of the victim and compel him to serve the “shrinker”.  When the head was severed and shrunk, the avenging would stop.

This shrunken head was hand made by an indigenous artist from the Manabi Province of Ecuador.

He has been making these replicas for my American Agent since the 1990s.  The heads are made from shaved and modeled goat skin and prepared in much the same way as the authentic heads.  The wood, the jute, the hair are all products acquired from local sources.

An important point here is that original tsantsas are extremely rare because of the aging and – of course – mass deterioration.  The artisan provides replicas to museums and motion picture companies because these pieces of art provide the best representation of the original heads…. and he is really good!

I commissioned the artisan to create a rare mid-1930s tsantsa with lip skewers, neck coil of wooden vine, plant fibers used on the lip skewers and the squinting eyes that were part of the authentic tsantsa.  This was his second tsantsa with these general characteristics.

For the Serious Collector.  A jute string is provided for hanging from above.  See other shrunken heads on the site.  Simple wood stand.  A glass display dome (see last photo)with a flat top and hardwood base is available at $ 46.00 USD additional.


This item as sold.  Thank you P.G. !



NOTE to the Art Collector, Gallery Owner, Dealer or Academic: click here for items unique to your requirements.

Product Categories
Bowls, Boxes, Bells, Gongs, Medicine Holders. Containers not considered vessels
FFurniture / Furnishings
Furniture, Furnishings, Wall Hangings, Screens, Lamps, Display Pieces, Pedestals, Paintings
Masks and Headgear
RReference / Research
Maps, Books and Materials
SStatues & Figures
Statues, Sculptures, Figures, Heads & Busts
VVessels & Vases
Vessels, Urns, Vases, Incense Burners, Censers
Knives, Swords, Letter Openers, Phurbas, Spears, Blowpipes
OOther not categorized
Other and miscellaneous such as Jewelry, Musical Instruments, Games, Garments, Skulls