The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Twenty-three. The Spring Festival
caption: Mauwang's wife dresses her light daughter, shaving head
medium: books
person: Mauwang/ of LongkhaiWankau/ of Longkhai
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Longkhai
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Mauwang's wife is already dressed, many precious necklaces hang round her neck, and now she is dressing her four-year-old daughter. She would like to hang all the valuable ornaments and trinkets on this much-loved child, but already the little one can hardly move, and blinks wonderingly at all the shimmering things she is so unaccustomed to see on her chest. Now the mother begins to shave her head, but the child protests with hands and feet. She does not find the procedure at all pleasant and lets out furious shrieks, which even uncle Wankau cannot calm as he hurries up and takes her on his knees. Suddenly the small girl stops; one look at the stranger approaching to take her photograph has done more than all the kindness of her relations, and her mother begs me to go on playing the bogey until the operation is finished. The child is shorn bald, except for a small tuft on top of the head, and her mother adorns her with a fan-like feather-crown.