The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary three

caption: ceremony with pigs heads at Bala morung
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 20.1.1937
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: Yonglong now went to the Bala morung and I followed him. At first the pigs' jaws which were fastened between bamboo sticks were set up on a place currently free of buildings, quite far from the morung. Yonglong circles a chick over them (as is described on p. 181). (191) After he inspects all the intestines of the chick some rice is poured on a leaf plate and the pig's trotter is put on it. The young men and boys then touch the hoof and say: "He, He, He, Ha, Ha, Ha". Now the entire group goes to the morung and the heads are taken down from the frame on which they had hung. They too are covered with a thin tissue from a pig.
text: Now Yonglong pours madhu over them and recites a long formula which asks the head-hunters and Angs of the neighbouring villages (among them both friendly and alien) to come and be fed as well. Then he imitates the piercing of the skull with spear tips and pronounces the hope that the dead persons relatives may come too to be treated. Each clan gave him the tip of a spear which he kept after he had finished the job. Finally Yonglong went to the Angban. Here the ceremony involving pigs' jaws and chicken took place in front of the Ang's house while the bamboo heads were fed immediately in front of the morung. Here too in front of the Ang's house the young men touched the foot of a pig (192) which was put on some rice on a leaf.
text: During the sprinkling of the heads with madhu, not only Yonglong spoke the formula but the Ang, Chinkak, and Nieang, the gaonbura of the Angban also did so. Both were also holding leaf bowls and poured madhu onto the heads. Some young men now are wearing small plaited leggings as I had only seen them so far among men from Punkhung. This is also supposed to be part of the full head-hunter's costume. In fact the people of the "Ang" morungs, Angban, Balang and Bala, have the right to wear leggings which have been dyed red. Those of the other two morungs may only wear those of natural colour. When I go back to the Thepong I just meet the dancers of that morung as they move on to the Bala, but older men are not taking part and no one is waving heads as I've seen it at the Aukheang. The sun is about to set and no further ceremonies are to be expected. In the Thepong morung I am given the shoulder of a cow and the Angban sends a similar gift.