The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript 'Journey to Nagaland', by Mildred Archer. An account of six months spent in the Naga Hills in 1947

caption: painted bands for tribal cloths
medium: diaries
location: Longsa
date: 20.9.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: As we went along the village street, we met the Ao craftsman who makes the painted bands for tribal cloaks. These bands are of white cloth painted in black and are designed to show the prowess of the wearer. A line of slim cylindrical men, a pair of lumbering mithan, a gaping tiger, a spruce elephant - whatever a man has killed is recorded on his band. The figures are traced with a pointed bamboo pen and the paint is made of rice beer, the gum of a tree and wood ash.
text: Leaving the village we strode through the clear rain- washed morning. With the ripening of the paddy the landscape seemed suddenly to have changed. The dark hills were broken with golden- yellow patches like pieces of grazed skin. The fields were full of women reaping and singing and as we passed the field houses, children were stacking the paddy in great wispy heaps.