The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary three

caption: Longtang produces spears for Ao and Chang; manufacture of spears
medium: diaries
location: Ponyo Longtang
date: 10.12.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 28.11.1936-11.2.1937
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (55) Like many Naga villages Longtang has the monopoly over one particular technology. For all Chang and Ao it produces the spears trimmed with short red goats hair. One of the gaonburas showed us how these are made. One needs for it a shaft of nahor wood, a string of sago palm fibre, some goats hair dyed red and an adhesive which is mixed with the honey of a small bee and the juice of the sali tree. The string is wound around the shaft four or five times, then a small bundle of short goats hair is cut off with the dao, the adhesive is heated over a fire and is put onto the end of the bundle. Then the artist puts the hairs around the shaft and carefully winds the string around it whilst spreading out the goats hair regularly with his left thumb nail so that they form a perfect circle. Then the string is tied two times more around the shaft and is tightly pushed together with a piece of bamboo before a new row of hair is put on in the same manner. In Ponyo (Himbu) spears virtually identical to the ones of Longtang are made by the Burmese Konyak.