The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary one

caption: virtues of head hunting and treatment of heads
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 2.8.1936
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: The next day they slaughter a pig and the enemy's ears and tongue are cut off and put under a flat stone at the front of the house of the clan elder. The head is hung up for a day at the menhir in front of the morung and then it is stuck onto the skull tree, generally a ficus, for ten to twelve days. After this time the flesh has usually rotted away, the remains are now scraped off. Every participant in the headhunt kills a pig and the men of the morung dance around the menhir. The head stays in the morung until the next Ling-ha-bu (Spring Festival). During this feast it is hung up on the wall of the clan elder's house. A chicken is sacrificed and the skull is fed and given drink. At this time they say "Your brothers, your mother, your father, they all may come to drink rice beer and they may come to eat rice". The skulls are also fed at the Ou-ling-bu, the Pong-long-pong-lu and the Ou-nye-bu. (notebook 2 p. 166). (161) "When heads were brought into the village all were well off. Those who captured heads became rich and lived a long life and men, women and children prospered.