The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : Return to the Naked Nagas (1939;1976)

caption: Chapter Twenty. With Pangsha's Enemies
caption: tensions over distribution of skulls
medium: books
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: But the other part of our booty is much more important and there is a strained tension about the camp until it is known exactly what will be done with the trophies. To their great disappointment, our porters have not taken part in any fight when they could have used their spears and dao and thus won a warrior's laurels. The sepoys on the other hand have indisputably killed several Pangsha men, and resourceful jurists among the porters hit upon the (162) ingenious idea of substituting the heads I robbed from the Pangsha head-tree for those of the killed enemies left lying on the field. It is argued that since they were fairly fresh and had hung only on the head-tree, and not been stored in the morung, it is plausible to assume that their inherent "virtue" has not yet been finally absorbed in Pangsha's store of magical power. By this interpretation the value of my heads suddenly mounts, and it is soon apparent that they will never reach any European museum.