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 Choio
caption: head-taking and bringing back human ears
medium: tours
person: Panchama
ethnicgroup: Lotha
location: Koio (Choio) Pangsha
date: 30.1.1947
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 31.12.1946-14.2.1947
text: As in Lungsa, it is now more than twenty years since any human head or ear has reached the head-tree. Panchama, who is now dead, was the last to bring one and he secured a Kalyu-Kenyu ear when the village of Pangsha was burnt by a column. As a result, the new puthi was able to qualify himself for warriors dress. With a number of others he met the ear outside the village and touched it lightly with his spear. After that he gave a feast and has ever since paraded in warriors dress, when the occasion allowed. This dress which is carefully preserved in boxes in his house tallies almost exactly with the dress described by Mills. The only difference is that a tail is not worn, while a pair of red gaiters is put on round the legs. The gaiters have a black band at the top and a white one at the bottom while a large diamond shaped pattern in yellow thread goes round the middle. This latter pattern is added when the wearer has twice erected stones. The cowrie apron had three large Vs above the horizontal line. There are now a number of young men in the village who have never seen or speared an ear. (49) Because of this they cannot wear warrior's dress and even on formal occasions can only turn out in the particular cloth to which their various feasts entitle them.