Shrunken heads are exactly what they sound like. The practice has only been seen in a few tribes in the northwest region of the Amazon rainforest, but they have become well-known around the world. They were created after someone was defeated in battle; the loser had their head shrunken and sewn shut to keep their spirit inside, which prevented revenge on the killer later on.
To create a shrunken head, the skull is removed from the inside of the skin and boiled before hot rocks and sand are used to dry it. The eyes and lips are sewn shut to capture the spirit inside. It was also believed that rubbing ash on the skin would help this as well.
When shrunken heads became more popular in the mid 20th century, many people started to make fakes using animal heads or skins. Today it is very hard to find a real one, even in museums. There is, however, a real one at the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia which we got to see.
The water deer is well known for its long canine teeth which protrude from their mouth. These teeth are used for fighting other water deer over territory and mates. They do not have antlers of any kind and are brown or brownish gray in coloring. They are typically 1.5-2 feet tall (measured to the shoulder) and weigh 20-30 lbs. Their life span is 10-12 years.
We’re interested in a Chinese water deer skull because of their unique teeth!
This skunk skull was the beginning of our collection. It is 3″ long, 1 3/4″ wide, and 1 1/2″ tall. M (my boyfriend) gave it to me for my birthday in 2013 and he got it from a store called Evolution in Soho in New York. This store has lots of animal skulls and skeletons, butterflies, jewelry, and even some real human fetus articulated skeletons! This store can get pretty pricy, but their pieces are museum quality.
One day we asked to meet with the articulators in the back to ask them some questions since we were going to start articulating our coyote skeleton. They were super friendly and gave us lots of great tips! If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend checking this place out. It’s great for the occasional high quality piece to add to your collection. Or, like us, it could kickstart your collection!
Size: 3″ long x 1 3/4″ wide x 1 1/2″ tall
From The Evolution Store