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 Mezoma
caption: head-takers fourth line of cowrie shells on his skirt
medium: tours
person: Duovizo AngamiMills/ J.P.
ethnicgroup: Angami <Western
location: Mezema (Mezoma) Khonoma Jotsoma Kiruphema (Kirufema)
date: 9.1.1947
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 31.12.1946-14.2.1947
text: As I was drinking rice beer at the house of the Nisonuma gaonbura I noticed that Duovizo Angami was wearing a kilt with a fourth line of cowries. This is the coveted badge of a successful headhunter. It appears that twenty years ago he accompanied J.P.Mills on a transfrontier expedition as a baggage porter. During the operation, a transfrontier Naga was shot by a Gurkha and Duovizo was the first to get in and cut off the head. He was able to secrete it on his person and get it back to the village. When he arrived the skull was divided into four pieces. One was given to Khonoma, one to Jotsoma, one to Kirufema and the rest was divided among Mezoma itself. All the young men shared and as a result, they became eligible for wearing warrior's feathers. Duovizo however is the only Angami in the village who can wear a fourth line of cowries. Since this is the sole prerogative of the man who takes the head.