The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary three

caption: burying of part of skull with stone above it
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Shiong
date: 20.12.1936
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
seealso: page 103notebook 4 p.120
text: While both groups go around the area singing separately, the Rhemba, an ancient man of the Doalim clan, is digging two holes into the ground. He now should have put, according to the old custom, a part of the ear of the enemy's head into a tiny basket which would just about hold an egg. He suggests this action (107) by going over the piece of skull with a sharp bamboo knife, and he seems to scratch some of it off into the small basket. Simultaneously he murmurs words which are virtually identical with those spoken at the village entrance. (Compare page 103, also see notebook 4 p. 120). Then he sets the stone above it. He performs exactly the same ceremony with a second little basket above which the stone of the other morung is set up. Then the Rhemba cuts up the piece of skull to divide it between the morungs and clans. The original custom had been that only the clan which captured a head would set up a stone one for each enemy head.