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: new log drum, Pala morung, Wakching
medium: notes
keywords: TongnaNyoyaChangwung
person: Pala morungPalang morungTepong morung
location: Wakching
date: 25.1.1948
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 2:2
text: Wakching
text: Pala and Palang morungs burnt early in January 1948 (all the best carvings in W'ching destroyed). Pala morung had put up a temporary morung - and a new drum shed - they had pulled in a new log drum on 25/1.
text: The drum is made from a tree (not identified - lanyangpu) - 'The Raja of the forest' - only this tree can be used for log-drums - all the drum carved including neck and tusks in the jungle - the final decorations 'suns' and 'moons' were being chipped out - by hammering a big 'nail' -
text: When all the chipping finished, two old men of the morung came and spilt rice beer on the drum's head and said 'By your power the boys of this morung will be like tigers and the girls as beautiful as hornbills. Give us all good health, good crops and many children'. - When the tree is cut for a drum, it is believed to contain a Raja (Tongna) and a Rani (Nyoya) - Tongna and Nyoya exist side by side in the same drum - the drum is both male and female (Palang)
text: In the Tepong morung are Changwung and Nyoya - the male name is determined by a dream - the female name is constant. Thick lashings of fibre like a sinuous bamboo inserted in holes in the side - bamboo poles fitted to the sides for dragging and lifting - pulled up with a great rhythmical shout - 2 trunks in the shed with cross trunks on which the drum rests - it had to be berthed very carefully - a slot made in the drum's base to take a cross beam - can then be beaten without losing its poise. When in place the morung gave it a great beating - a lovely tone - after that a pig killed inside the morung in the sleeping place - offered to the spirit of the morung 'May all the morung members flourish' - the sleeping place is the most intimate and vulnerable place in the morung.