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: visit to a feast of merit at Ungma
caption: women's dance
medium: diaries
location: Ungma
date: 9.10.1947
person: Archer/ Mildred
date: 9.7.1947-4.12.1947
text: The decor was like a wild ballet. Against the sombre brown background the women moved vivid and precise in their deep scarlet cloths. As they slowly swayed, shell and cornelian necklaces clashed and brass bells, slung from the shoulder to knee, jangled and tinkled. Scarlet and orange flowers and sprays of green and black wispy feathers nodded in their ears. They moved with careful poise, balancing brass horns, cornelian chaplets or little crowns of scarlet berries on their sleek hair. The wives of the rich bore great hornbill feathers, two or even a dozen, in a barbaric halo perched on a looped bun of hair.
text: The beauty lay not only in the whole effect, but in the small detail; the weave of the cloth, the golden-bobbled edging to the skirt, the fantastic bunches of feathers, a red wool tassel on a black quill or a touch of pink on a curling green plume.