Shrunken Head Replicas | Darwin and Wallace: A Nature & Fossil Store

Shrunken Head Replicas



      Shrunken Heads, or “Tsantsas,” were created by the Shuar Indians of Ecuador and Peru, and served a religious and societal purpose. The act of taking and shrinking an opponent’s head was done as an act of vengeance against someone that had murdered a member of an opposing tribe. After removing the head and carefully peeling the skin, the headhunter would then shrink the skin through repetitive stages of boiling it and filling it with hot sand and stones. The headhunter would also take care to manually manipulate the skin so as to keep the facial features intact. When the skin had been shrunk down several times smaller, the headhunter would then sew closed the eyes and lips of the victim. In doing this, it would ensure that the deceased’s spirit could not curse the headhunter with a hex, and would forever trap the spirit inside its now shrunken head. Our shrunken heads are replicas made from animal hide, and are also created by the Shuar Indians of today.

In this video, British adventurer Piers Gibbon examines a video documentation made by Polish explorer Edmund Bielawski of Shuar Indians in the process of a head shrinking ceremony in the documentary "Search for The Amazon Head Shrinkers" (Channel 5/National Geographic). WARNING: Though not gory, this video may be disturbing for some viewers:

Click on the images below to see the incredible Tsantsa Replicas we offer in our Shrunken Head selection: