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: morungs and morung carvings
medium: tours
person: Chongli khelYimbangrocho clan
ethnicgroup: Ao
location: Mongsenyimti
date: 6.2.1947-7.2.1947
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 31.12.1946-14.2.1947
text: There are at present two morungs, both of them with fully carved pillars and both in excellent repair. The first is in Chongli Khel and belongs to the Yimbangrocho clan. The carvings run down the pillar as follows -
text: 2 snakes
2 hornbills
2 .........
1 tiger
1 mithan head
text: All of these are fully carved and jut out sharply from the pillar. There is a great beam on the morung floor with a slippery mat hooped up over it. A little ladder with two rungs enables you to get over it. Besides this there is a long sleeping platform, a hide drum, a trough for water and a small loft. In the latter are a number of [reed torches. They are used if a person dies at night] (58) or if there is a village alarm. The morung is divided into age groups each of which are filled every 3 years - songpur, tunabang, ajuren and alibang (chongli). Of these only the first is expected to sleep in the morung. At present however there is only one member of this group and apart from keeping up the supply of torches, filling the troughs with water, and massaging such older members who demand it he is free of all duties and is allowed to sleep at home. The age of entering the first group is 12 and as there are many little boys who are now about 10, the group will shortly fill up.
text: The other morung is even more fully carved and embellished. The top of the roof is marked with tufts of straw. Three bamboo poles festooned with straw project from the porch. A little hoop with hanging pieces of wood marked in black dangles from the 'beak'. Just outside the entrance is a wide sitting out platform with bunches of straw hanging from horizontal poles. The main pillar which rises slimly under the 'beak' is carved with a mithan head, a hornbill (down), a hornbill (up), a little man with a child spreadeagled on his torso, a tiger (down), a tiger (up), an elephant (-).