The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

black & white photographs taken by Ursula Graham Bower between 1937 and 1946

caption: Man in warrior dress with human hair tufted shield (ge-zeh)
caption: The upper tufts on this shield are taken from the head of the enemy. The remainder is made up in due course from the heads of the owner's friends and relatives, who contribute a tuft or two, when they have a haircut - although, as on this occasion, the shields may be used in mock duels by men who have not themselves taken a head, it is generally forbidden for any man, not a head-taker, to carry one. The specimen I obtained from Magulong, now in the Pitt Rivers Museum, had to be carried down 60 miles to the railway by a head-taker from the village. It was considered that my husband, in view of his war-time experience, ranked as a head-taker, but it was unthinkable for him to carry it himself and so an emissary was sent. I cannot recall the number of head-takers in Magulong in 1945 but it was somewhere between five and eight. The heads in question were taken from rebel Kukis in 1917-19, when the Nagas took the Government side against the Kukis.
medium: photographs
keywords: VJ Day celebrations
form: 35mm negatives
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 16.3.1946
note: information based on catalogue compiled by photographer unless in square brackets
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: BT NO 2040-2