The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript tour diary of W.G. Archer, S.D.O. Mokokchung 1947

caption: visit to Jakhama and Kigwema
caption: gate of Kipoma khel at Kigwema
medium: tours
person: Kosazu/ of KigwemaPawseyWhilie Angami/ of Kigwema
ethnicgroup: Angami <Southern
location: Kigwema
date: 7.1.1947
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 31.12.1946-14.2.1947
text: From Jakhama I went to Kigwema. This village seems at first to be on the main road, and it is only when you approach it direct that you observe a deep protective ditch which separates the houses from the road. To reach the village therefore I had to go down to the left, across the ditch at the bottom and go up the further side. A gate erected by the Kipoma Khel in 1920 stands in a narrow passage a little further on.
text: This gate has a border of wooden heads in black and scarlet and centres on a warrior encased in mithan horns. Along the top is a row of rounded forms like those in Jakhama, and here Kosazu the Kigwema dobashi declared that all of them were breasts. He pointed out that when an enemy was killed his head was taken while if a woman was killed her head was left but her breasts were cut out. This is certainly not the usual Angami custom but may have been local to Kigwema. The gate itself shows heads on either side of the warrior and in this view the whole plaque is designed to strike terror in an enemy by displaying to him the results of his defeat.
text: While we were discussing the gate and its role in warfare, I asked if any Japanese heads were taken in the fighting. Kosazu then explained that when the war approached the hills Pawsey issued an order urging the Nagas to kill all (8) the Japs they could, but forbidding them to take their heads. Instead of this he authorised them to remove a finger and an ear. (Pawsey tells me that this was done to avoid reprisals). Following this announcement, Whilie Angami, a Naga of Kigwema, killed two Japs but he is the only member of the village who did so. When he brought in the finger and the ear a two days' genna was observed and he is now entitled to wear a full warrior's dress and a fourth line of cowries on his kilt.