The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary three

caption: cloth paid at death of clan member by another village
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 21.1.1937
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: In front of a house of the Balang we still see the remains of the Kongan boys' meal. One year ago the owner of this house died. He had belonged to the Metahu clan. Now it is an old rite of the Metahu clan that at the death of any man from it (198) Kongan presents a cloth to his descendants, and it must be one of those red and blue cloths with goat's hair and cowry shells as are made by the Aos and worn for feasts in Konyak villages. But this year the Kongan boys have brought a different cloth which slightly upset the Metahu people.
text: The origin of this custom takes us back to the time when Kongan had been raided several times by Wanching and was partly destroyed. At that time the Ang of Mon and the Ang of Chi also wanted to join in and get heads from Kongan without much expense. The Metahu clan of the Balang tried to change their minds and gave a cloth of the described type to each of the Angs. The Ang of Mon returned to his village but the Ang of Chi did not want to abandon his plan. Therefore the Metahu people sent messengers at night to Kongan to warn the village. It was thanks to this warning that Kongan could repel the attack of Chi. The man in honour of whose father the Kongan boys had come slaughtered a cow (199) and gave them a feast. In return the Metahu clan is invited to Kongan's Ou-ling-bu. The Kongan youth also come to Wakching if the morung Ang of the Balang or a member of his family dies. They now were sitting idly in front of the Balang morung and some of them were sleeping on large mats wrapped in their cloth irrespective of the Balang people passing by.