The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary three


head taking ceremony at Kongan

medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Kongan
date: 28.12.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 28.11.1936-11.2.1937

translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes

person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London

First however, about the heads. In the Yongsha morung I saw several bamboo bowls with cow horns attached, each of which contains a tiny little piece of the head.


As they told me the first ceremonies were carried out on the day of bringing in the head, and they danced. On the next day there were no further gennas or dances and the head was hung up in the big ficus next to the morung. Five days after the head was then brought back into the morung. At this occasion old and young are dancing. The smaller boys all have their heads shaved, only a forelock is left in front. This is part of the ceremonies for bringing in a head and for gaining the right to wear the head-hunter's costume. The hair is then allowed to grow again.