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: dancing at night
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Longkhai
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Suddenly comes the sound of music. What is that song out there in the night? Stepping into the open, I see the young men of the village approaching with measured steps. The rising moon glitters on the broad blades of the dao, and the hornbill feathers on the hats shine white in her light. The boys are forming a circle on the place in front of the chief's house; already the song is rising, knees bend in rhythm, and the ceremonial dance begins. I am no longer alone watching, for the chief and the men of his house stand near me, and in a moment a crowd of women and girls emerge from the darkness. Why are they all looking so expectantly at me? A young man leaves the circle of dancers -- he is coming towards me.