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: exposure of buttocks as mark of contempt
medium: notes
person: Mauwang
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Longkhai
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 14:13
seealso: Haimendorf, 'Naked Nagas' p 107-109
text: The exposure of the buttocks as a mark of contempt.
text: ....More recently, while I was touring in the Konyak villages of the Naga Hills, I witnessed a similar recourse to this means of expression. I was camping in Longkhai, the ancestral seat of Mauwang - the Ang (or sacred chief) of the village. Mauwang's dramatic character is vividly described in CFH Naked Nagas p. 107-109. Mauwang had kindly arranged for me a rehearsal of the Spring Festival and since it was pouring with rain in characteristically Haimendorf manner, he had collected a group of girls in the huge porch of his spacious house. He himself had donned his warrior's attire and as the girls moved slowly round, flexing their knees with little bending gestures. Mauwang strutted and postured in the centre. As the spectacle was unusual, a group of little boys came crowding into the porch and soon there was so little light that the dance was hardly visible. Mauwang shouted to them to go away but possibly because he is temperamentally gentle, none of them heeded his words and the dance went on in semi-twilight. Suddenly, in a fit of rage Mauwang decided to exact obedience. Pushing through the ring of girls, he bent double, exposed his anus (his buttocks in Konyak fashion being already bare) and then charged backwards, full in the faces of the boys. The effect was instantaneous. The striplings fled and as the waterish light entered the room, Mauwang resumed his solemn postures and again moved gravely in the dance ....Other Konyaks were present but all of them thought Mauwang's act was eminently proper. They were merely surprised he had not resported to it earlier.