The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Twenty-one. Head-Hunting Rites
caption: the most precious piece of the skull round the eyes
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: "Shankok, your morung has just been rebuilt, you are most in need of a head; which piece would you like?" "The part round the eyes, and there should also be a part of the jaw."
text: This wish I gratify, but when I propose to give the Balang people a piece from the back of the head, they cry at once: "Not from the back of the head! Not from the back of the head! We too want a piece of the jaw."
text: Whereupon the people of the Angban and Bala come with the same demands, and I have finally to break into the head I have set aside for the villages north of Wakching, before everyone is satisfied. For the Konyaks believe that the magical powers furthering fertility are not distributed equally over the whole human head, but adhere especially to the parts round the eyes and to the lower jaw.