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: the character of Ngapnun; dressing for dance
medium: books
person: Ngapnun/ of Longkhai
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Longkhai
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Among the girls is Ngapnun. I recognize her at once, for the last time I was in Longkhai I was struck by her graceful movements and perfect figure. Perhaps, for the first time among the Nagas, I almost regret the necessary reserve and detachment of the anthropologist. She has all the graciousness and self-assurance that you find in a great lady, and her gracefulness is an expression of her strong personality and a consciousness of her rank. I have never suffered such a defeat as in my attempts to make Ngapnun smile. Even when I give her some skeins of red wool, so valued by all other Naga women, the proud beauty does not deign to look at me, but takes the gift as some tribute she has a right to expect. Much as this behaviour hurts my self-respect, it has one great advantage: unhindered, I can photograph Ngapnun wherever she goes and at whatever she is doing, without her paying the least attention.