Oxford museum rethinks famed display of shrunken heads

Title: Oxford museum rethinks famed display of shrunken heads
Author: Martin Bailey
Media Outlet: The Art Newspaper
Publish Date: March 6, 2019

“(…) Van Broekhoven points out that the Treatment of Dead Enemies display is both “cherished and feared” by visitors: “Many think of these objects as bizarre, gruesome, barbaric, a ‘freak’ show. The practice of headhunting, instead of being better understood, is misunderstood entirely. The Shuar communities do not want to be represented in these stereotypical ways.”

(…) This has been examined by the anthropologist Frances Larson in her recent book on severed heads: “Collectors behaved in a way that would have been criminal at home… Some stole the dead from hospital morgues, bought bodies from prison, offered people goods in exchange for bits of their dead relatives or asked the locals politely for enemy body parts after battles and raids.” Arguably it is inappropriate for museums to display human remains acquired in such circumstances.”