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: Wakching morung carvings
medium: notes
person: Pala morungTepong morungAukeang morungAngpan morung
location: Wakching
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 4:38
text: Wakching - morung carvings.
text: A new carving is made only when a morung is rebuilt and not for replacing an old carving in an old morung.
text: Pala morung was re-made last year - they re-installed all carvings in good condition and put in some new ones:
text: 1. tiger monkey hornbill python fish - men and women standing. Not an elephant - entitled to an elephant but after they had carved it they had to abandon it in the forest. Carved it - then they thought it was too heavy - tried to cut it down - got spoilt and split - An elder of the morung did the test with plantain leaves and found that the tree was ill-omened and bad, therefore it was left.
text: Choice of subjects -
text: Tepong morung cannot have a hornbill, men and women, elephant - can have only tiger and monkeys - boys who slept in the morung began to die - as a boy died, they dismantled a carving of a soldier - still more boys died - they (15-16 years ago) took out carving of 15 soldiers holding guns - then the deaths stopped - only carvings of tiger and monkeys were left, therefore only these are carved now. (From beginning no elephant - because not the Ang's morung). Members of the Tepong and Aukeang morungs are slightly inferior and not entitled to elephant - but because Aukeang has many rich men and was the founder morung - it has an elephant - the elephant a symbol of superiority. Angpan is the Ang morung.
text: Every morung can have a tiger - 4 out of 5 can have men and women - re showing sex relations - optional.
text: 'Tigers and elephant because they are big and powerful'. Monkeys because they are clever.
text: Morung boys go out to choose a tree - choose one - then they cry out, raise a great shout 'O spirits of the place begone. We shall cut this tree'. Then they cut - after it is felled they kill a cock - take off all the feathers - and impale it on a spike and put it on the stump. (Offer but with no prayer) - anyone good at carving does the carving - (no genna had to be observed by anyone). When carving is finished, sometimes in the forest, sometimes in the village, the morung drag it in - sometimes only boys, sometimes women as well, sometimes others assist. No separate puja for each carved pillar, but mithan or buffalo sacrificed for the whole morung. 'May the people flourish. May all our boys and girls be strong. May we take the heads of our enemies'. (The morung as a magical source of energy, vitality etc.) If a bad year, no morung festival or feast. If a good year 'a feast of the morung'. In Wakching, December, in Oting, once in June, once in July. A feast, but no prayers or dedication of the animals.