The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary three

caption: Wakching head receiving rituals
caption: singing accompanying head taking dance
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 19.12.1936
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: From beginning to end it was an alternate singing which accompanied their movements. (97) To a dignified slow phrase of the older men the shrill voices of the boys answered eagerly and quickly, shouting out from their hearts. As my friends tell me this song is firmly defined in form, but the words are more or less improvised. The few examples I wrote down confirm this. It always concerns bringing in a head but certain lines such as, "In the old days we captured many heads. Now we may no longer cut off any", prove that the words are not from an old song. I also saw how Chinyang with whom I later stood in front of the Ang-ban in the middle of the circle of Aukheang dancers, gave the answers to the little boys. This dance song is incomparably calmer than the one for bringing home the head and the circle is never interrupted by rough calls and lifting of the daos.