The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary one

caption: offer of sale of morung carvings, a sacrilege
medium: diaries
person: Dzem-ang
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 21.8.1936
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: (212) Wakching 21/8/1936. In the morning during my walk through the rather deserted village I came to the Balang morung and met its Ang, the half blind Dzem-ang. I talked with him and another older man about the carvings when suddenly Dzem-ang offered spontaneously to sell me a male figure fastened to the side frieze. We soon came to an agreement and he also let me have the figure of a pregnant woman with a fish fastened to her feet. When we had taken the two figures off the board, one of which had been nailed on, and as I was just about to go off proudly with my acquisitions, two other older men showed up and they seemed aghast at the sacrilege and told Dzem-ang, who was carrying the two figures, their opinion. I saw immediately how matters stood and offered myself to put them back in their place. The two guardians of the morung treasures were satisfied with this and did not seem angry about the incident. The reason given for their disapproval was that one does genna with the morung carvings and that they may not be sold for that reason.