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: being entertained by Ang of Longkhai
medium: books
person: Mauwang/ of Longkhai
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Longkhai
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Once more I am in Longkhai. The light of the flickering fire plays on brown figures, crowded round the hearth, but does not illuminate the whole of the huge hall. Only the contours of the great wooden throne are recognizable in the gloom. But the throne is empty, the night is cool, and Mauwang sits with us near the fire, where a pot of red rice steams on three stones. Mauwang's half-brother lifts the pot off the fire, and with a long bamboo ladle heaps the rice on to the banana leaves, one set between every two men; and then distributes the thick taro mash. Conversation ceases. Squatting back on their heels, the men shove huge balls of rice dipped in taro into their mouths. Only Mauwang has a leaf to himself, for he belongs to the great Ang class and must not stain the purity of his rank by eating with other men -- no, not (176) even with his half-brother. In a few minutes the huge heaps have disappeared and the men pour water over their hands and begin to prepare pan leaves with chalk and aromatic bark, ready for chewing.