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: letters from W.G. Archer to J.H. Hutton
caption: Naga art
medium: lettersnotes
keywords: Sekrengi festival
person: Archer/ W.G.Hutton/ J.H.Guosele/ of ChichemaPawseyNieghuwa/ of Tesophenyu
ethnicgroup: Angami <NorthernRengmaLhotaAoSema
location: Khonoma Kigwema Jotsoma Zhakhama (Jokhama) Mezema (Mezoma) Chakhabama (Chakharbama) Cheswezumi (Cheswejumi) Chezumi (Chezubama) Mokokchung Kohima Nerhema Jotuna Chechama (Chichema) Tesophenyu
date: 5.2.1947
person: Archer/ W.G.
date: 1946-1948
refnum: 14:16
text: (copy of a letter from WGA to J.H. Hutton, 5th Feb.)
text: Dear Dr Hutton,
text: I meant to write much earlier but it is only since January that I have started to get about the Hills. I began with Khonoma and don't think I shall ever forget that great valley terraced almost to the top and then that little spur with its fort just round the corner. On other days I went to Kigwema, Jotsoma, and Jokhama and I even toiled up to Mezoma. They told me you had been there twice. But I did not grudge the climb for a saw my first kilt with 4 cowrie lines. After that I did a 5 days' tour to Chakharbama, Cheswejumi and Chezubama. Then I paused for a day or two and I'm now at Mokokchung. I took ten days to come but I saw all I could of Northern Angamis, Rengmas, Lhotas and Aos. Among Angamis, I have been very struck by the way the house carving varies from village to village. In some like Kigwema or Cheswejumi you get lots of mithan heads and house horns, In others like Khonoma and Mezoma none at all and even in Kohima there are only one or two. They tell me its because the carvings are linked to the social gennas, for each genna every village has different tariffs. In Khonoma they said you were ruined long before you reached a genna which could qualify for mithan carvings, and as for house horns, that was unthinkable.
text: It is odd too how conventions vary about grave effigies. In Chezubama I saw a wooden effigy of a head-taker - the only one for miles around. It was on the grave of a warrior who had taken 3 heads, though I believe, one would have done.
text: There is lots more I'd like to tell you. Head-hunting - repressed but the need as keen as ever. Missions? Enormous enthusiasm for ears. Changing ground a bit, I think. Sema christians are giving feasts of merit and carving crosses on their frontal pillars to commemorate them. Rengmas and Lhotas - standing firm. Very few mission gains. The Jotuna whom you bemoaned in your introduction seem now to be definately crag- bound! Aos on the other hand, sinking badly, but in places new log-drums still being made. Finally everywhere your memory. Nieghuwa of Tesophenyu showed me with pride a photo of you with your dog. All the dobashis are full of affectionate stories and all are delighted when I tell them I have seen you and that you walk as fast as ever.
text: In a few days time I hope to know when I shall be joining at Mokokchung. It may be very soon or it may not be until April. Everything depends on the Burma expedition. But unless I am off across the frontier, I will write again in March ...