The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes made by W.G. Archer between 1946 & 1948, and miscellaneous papers and letters

caption: grave effigies
medium: notes
keywords: head-takingtallies
person: Meheni AngamiEvige Angami
ethnicgroup: Angami <Eastern
location: Losami
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 9:2
text: E. Angami, Losami.
text: A tradition of putting up grave effigies to great warriors ie. head-takers.
text: Meheni Angami - had an effigy but it has now decayed - besides the effigy he had a huge wooden pillar (20 feet high) carved with 32 heads - in pairs - at the top the pillar forked - a head at the top of each fork - (cf. Mills' photo). This signified that he had taken heads from 2 villages in the course of one raid. As extra homage, 10 subsidiary smaller pillars with rows of carved heads - tallies of heads taken by warriors of his Khel on raids participated in by him.
text: Evige Angami - also had an effigy but this had decayed also - in addition a row of 13 wooden posts (2-3 ft. high) carved with 1-2-3 or 4 heads SKETCH
text: each post = one raid
text: the heads = the number taken in one raid
text: one post with two heads at the top SKETCH
text: Besides the little row of sodden lichen-covered posts more than 100 rounded stones - the women he had loved.
text: Each village has different conventions and gennas, different ways of interpreting tallies, different ways of interpreting gates, every gate, every warrior's memorial tells a story but the alphabet differs with the village.