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 head-taking
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: RengmaKonyakSangtam
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 5:1
text: Significance of head-taking.
text: 1. When examining Naga tribes we have to recognise the fact that an institution will mean something for one tribe and something quite different for another.
text: The fact that the Rengmas for example regard head-taking as necessary for the fields is no reason for thinking that the Sangtam took heads for that purpose. In fact what is characteristic of the Naga Hills is the capacity of each tribe to give a different value and meaning to what is an apparently identical institution.
text: 2. Arguments against the life-substance.
text: 1. Konyaks - grave effigies only of men - & then in duplicate - an attendant.
text: 2. No grave effigies of women - but female skulls taken - How can a female skull fertilize what is already female?
text: 3. Sangtams - skulls are not put in the fields - nor even at the shrine of the corn spirit - but at the drum.