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: Sangtam log-drums and mithan heads
medium: notes
keywords: makutung
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 5:41
text: Sangtam - Log-drum - mithan heads.
text: If a raiding party got a chance it would kill a mithan, buffalo, cattle or goat of a hostile village as well as men, women or children. If the party was large it would cut the mithan up and bring back all the meat. If small, it brought the head back as a trophy. The procedure was then very similar to that for a human head. The head was borne in triumph to the drum. The party went chanting round it 3 times then the head was set on the ground below the drum's neck. The drum was beaten and the party danced round and round. Finally the head was skinned and the skull tied to the centre pillar. When the skull fell to pieces, a wooden replica was made and tied to the post (nb. not exposed at the makutung). Taking a mithan head gave the same qualifications as a human one ie. warriors' dress, status. The first 3 strikers and the man that severed the head all got full warriors' status.