The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary one

caption: carved fronts of houses, mithan and buffalo heads, skulls
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Angami
location: Thenizumi
date: 4.6.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 2.6.1936-11.7.1936
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: Thenizumi is a beautiful big village with 248 houses, several of which have elaborately carved fronts. These consist of five to eight vertically placed hard planks which are cut from the wood of various trees, preferably of a red wood. They all are vertically rippled but only the ones in the centre are carved, five as maximum, sometimes only one or two. The most common motifs are mithan and buffalo heads. All are called mithan heads here as Thenizumi has no buffaloes but some certainly are buffalo heads, in addition pigs heads, with horns, female breasts, dancing tails and human heads. To the left of the central plank is the door which is also carved to fit into the complete composition. Next to the door and under the roof hang the skulls of sacrificed and slaughtered animals. In this village one hardly finds a pure mithan skull. Ordinary cattle and hybrids at best take the place of the mithan, even at sacrifices although they are formally addressed as mithan.