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: morung carvings
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Namsang
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 4:8
text: Konyak. Morung carvings. Namsang.
text: New carvings can be installed at:
text: 1. Re-building of a morung.
text: 2. Repairing of a morung.
text: 3. When an old carving gets old, broken or decayed.
text: Proceedure:
text: Young men of the morung go and choose a tree. Next night they watch their dreams. If a boy wakes up in a fright, if he is chased in his dream and encounters danger, the signs are bad and a new tree must be chosen. If a girl whom a boy is in love with speaks fondly to him, if a boy goes to a river and catches a big fish, if he desires something and gets it, omens are excellent. Besides dreams, omens are taken from
text: 1. a fire-stick - the stick is warmed, broken and the way it splits is noticed.
text: 2. a plantain leaf is torn and the veins observed. If dreams and omens are satisfactory, the tree is approved and some days later it is felled. The felling can be done only between Nov. and March. After felling, a cock is sacrificed 'We are putting you to a good purpose. Let no harm befall. As we cut you, may all go well. Bless all who carve.' Until the carving is finished and finally installed, all the boys who sleep in the morung must abstain from girls. The day the carving is set up, a hole is dug and a dog is killed. 'We are giving you a dog where before we offered you a man. May all the morung flourish.' The dog's muzzle, two ears and two paws are put in the hole and the pillar planted on top.
text: At the annual morung festival (usually Jan. or Feb. but not necessarily), a buffalo is killed by each morung and each carving is blooded. 'Today we have killed a buffalo. May all the morung flourish.'