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 Lungsa
caption: head-hunting and bringing back human ears
medium: tours
keywords: puthi
person: Nzuthang/ of LungsaHutton
ethnicgroup: Lotha
location: Lungsa
date: 29.1.1947
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 31.12.1946-14.2.1947
text: As in other Naga villages traditions of head-hunting are still very strong and I was told that in the last thirty years as many as 30 villagers had brought back human ears from various expeditions and had done the head-taking gennas. The village puthi or priest accompanied Dr. Hutton on his expedition against the Kukis and returned with a Kuki ear. Nzuthang did the same and both arrived back having got their full warrior's dress on the way. Their approach was greeted with great enthusiasm and more than thirty youths waited outside the village to view the trophies. As the ears came in they touched them with their spears. The ears were then taken to the morung where little bamboo models of heads were made. After that the ears were put in the basket heads and carried in triumph to the head tree. There the baskets were tied with string to two bamboo poles and set under the branches. The two warriors each gave a feast of pigs, cows, and rice-beer. Later on similar feasts were given by all the youths who had touched the trophies with their spears. Those who feasted the whole village earned a full warrior's regalia - the bear skin (46) wig, the cowrie apron with three additional rosettes, the hairy tail and a hornbill feather. Those who gave smaller feasts to the village elders only, acquired the right to wear everything except the feather.