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: Yimchungre deforestation and lack of log-drums
medium: notes
keywords: kusangmikuthung
ethnicgroup: YimchungrChangKonyakSangtam
location: Yimtsong-Awenrr (Yimchungr Anrr) Cheshorr Huchirr Ayepongr Sangrupu (Sangrupo) Sangpurr
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 16:13
text: Yimchungr
text: In all the older Yimchungr villages shifting cultivation has now destroyed the whole of the original forest. As a result, the hillsides are either bare or covered with scrub jungle and the villagers can no longer obtain trees of sufficient girth for their log-drums and since all the earlier drums have been consumed in village fires, the practice of maintaining a drum has therefore been abandoned. In Yimchungr Anrr, Cheshorr, Huchirr, Ayepongr, Sangrupo there are no longer any drums but some are said to exist in villages adjoining Sangpurr. Since returning warriors always took enemy heads first to the drum-house, a substitute depository has been devised. This is known as kusang a concept of a Y post about 5 feet high. The first is erected on the same day as the raid. The head is jammed in the fork and the warriors dance in triumph round it. When the dance is over the warriors sleep the night by the post. Next morning the head is escorted to the head-tree (mikuthung) and suspended from a bamboo pole.
text: In view of the ease with which the Yimchungr Nagas have abandoned the practice of installing drums it is obvious that the log-drum cannot have bulked largely in their culture. Konyaks and Changs keep miniature drums for instructional purposes and if the log-drum had possessed the spiritual significance for Yimchungr Nagas which it does for, say, the Sangtams, diminutive drums would have been the obvious solution.