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: japsseductionhead-takingfeast of merit
person: Choie AngamiShenzo AngamiVetzore AngamiSahi Angami
ethnicgroup: Angami <Eastern
location: Ketsaovoma (Ketsapomi)
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 9:6
text: E. Angami. Ketsapomi. 4 grave effigies - on the actual graves just outside the dead man's house.
text: 1. Choie Angami. A little circular parapet of stones - 3 rows of little rounded stones (the women he seduced)
text: A tall wooden figure clad in a bedraggled red waistcoat - the black kilt faded to a greenish-grey - holes gaping in the cowries - a spear by the side. A former headman - the Japs demanded information about the British from him. One Angami said that the British were coming in force. The headman said he did not know. On this the Japs executed him and threw his body in the jungle - it was never recovered - had not taken heads.
text: 2. Shenzo Angami. A rich man - died 3 years ago - effigy on his grave - no stones for women - not a head taker.
text: 3. Vetzore Angami. A rich man - this year - figure in full dress with baldrics and ivory armlets - 4 poles with fresh mithan heads on them.
text: 4. Sahi Angami. An ex-headman - a mithan head spiked on a pole - grave effigy also on the grave.
text: None of these were head-takers - the village custom, normally all head-takers got an effigy but rich men who could give a feast even if they had not taken heads could get them - in this village never genna to put an effigy without having taken heads.
text: The long tapering nose, the oval head, an effect of mechanical dignity.
text: The effigy is carved in the jungle the same day the man dies and is put up as soon as he is buried. 12 or 20 men in the village know how to carve the figures. The carver observes 2 days' genna (sex and food). The whole village is genna on the day of death - a feast of mithan, cattle or pigs - the carver is given a basket full of meat as reward - no puja at the tree or grave - the carver carries it to the grave, failing him, the dead man's Khel.