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: significance of carvings on the new gate at Kohima
medium: notes
keywords: zhatho gennalesu gennaKuki risingsacred tree
person: Tsotonoma khel
location: Kohima
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 12:43
text: Kohima new gate.
text: SKETCH
text: A skirt can be put only if there is at least one person in the village who has done the zhatho genna. The big mithan horn, only if at least one person in the village has done the lesu genna. The row under the horn can be carved with breasts only if at least one person in the Khel had done lesu.
text: (In the old gate, breasts there - this condition was fulfilled - in the new gate, rows of shields and a crown and no breasts there. No one in the Khel had done it.)
text: The hornbill feathers on the warrior and the head in his hand only if a head-taker in the Khel ( the Khel has two head-takers - one the Kuki Rising - the other is a cross-frontier column - other subjects are uncontrolled and optional - the new design not a conscious copy of the old) in fact differed in various respects - the warrior was carved with a spear and a head in his hand - which were not in the old. In the new two small mithans were put inside the horns and one out. In the old only two mithans and both outside - in the new a row of little shields incised on a horizontal band, in the old a row of breasts. One reason why the Khel installed the gate in 1947 was that the only person in the Khel who had done a zhatho genna was getting very old. It was necessary to hurry up as he might die in a year or two - when such a person exists, his is made to act as first striker and to observe the gate genna. His presence in the village also enables the 'skirt' to be put - to be competent, however, to act he must be married - in this case the person in question had divorced his wife and this disqualified him from acting - it made him temporarily as if he had not done the zhatho - to revive his status the Khel decided that his wife must return - they forced the man to agree and then much against the woman's will they induced her to return. When they were once again married, they elected the man as first striker and later on they carved a skirt on the gate.
text: No special rules re putting two big horns instead of one - optional.
text: No girl or woman may on any account stand or climb on the gate, and when it has been set up no boy may climb on it. Above the Kohima new gate an old chiemon tree - strictly genna to cut any branches. (Other gates have each a protective tree.)