Home Art and cultureThe Ancient Practice of Headhunting
The Ancient Practice of Headhunting

The Ancient Practice of Headhunting

In the modern times, headhunter has become one of the most interesting jobs. But the modern time headhunters have a literal meaning. It refers to the human resources. In other words, headhunters are those who look for applicants for job vacancy. But in the past, headhunters literally meant to hunt a head. And there once was the ancient practice of headhunting.

In 1874, a formal meeting, Tumbang Anoi Agreement in Indonesia marked an important event. All Dayak tribe came there for the peace resolution. After several months, the outcome finally was the agreement to end the tradition of headhunting by the Dayak people.

Agreement to abolish headhunting practice
The tribe assembled to negotiate about the removal of headhunting tradition

The practice of headhunting was to use the head of one individual as a trophy. But these trophies could be any body parts, teeth, scalps, hands, fingers, and even skin. Among them all, head was the most wanted because individual’s head was associated with the spirit of an individual.

The historians believed that the early reference to headhunting as the trophy appeared in mythology such as the story of Perseus and Medusa. Or even in the Bible, both the Old and New Testament mentioned the practice of headhunting.

The practice of headhunting seemed to go viral back then
The practice of headhunting seemed to go viral back then

This headhunting practice seemingly occurred all around the world from Africa to Asia to Europe.

During the Spring and Autumn period circa 771 – 476 BC in China, Qin soldiers collected the heads of their enemies. Each head was a body count. Most of the soldiers got their promotions and rewards from the number of heads that they collected to the general.

Also in Japan, the samurai warriors would show off the heads as the trophy to their glory in the battle.


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