Headhunting can be defined as an organized, coherent form of violence in which the severed head is given a specific ritual meaning and the act of head taking is consecrated and commemorated in some form.
It was a common practice among the indigenous tribes of Borneo until the decades of the 20th century. Headhunting practices were a predominant factor in the tropical life of Borneo during pre-colonial times as well as a means of securing fertility for human beings and for the lands.
Warfare among the tribes group was common, and it was considered a sign of strength for a young man to seek out and cut off a rival warriors head.
The freshly collected heads would be skinned and dried smoked over a fire or boiled and then hung up for all to see in the longhouse.
To take a head was a sign of virility and the more heads that a longhouse possessed, the greater its prestige and it was hoped its prosperity.
Headhunting practices in Borneo
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