The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary four

caption: in the Ang's house; Haimendorf dancing in the Ang's house
medium: diaries
person: Wanko
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Longkhai
date: 21.2.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 12.2.1937-31.3.1937
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: The major part of the afternoon I spent sitting with the Ang and his brothers in the front room of his house where his sacred throne is also placed. (See notebook 8 p. 176). (48-49) SKETCH
text: At that moment the brother of the Ang stepped up to me: "Sir you have brought the head, you have to dance with us". The idea made sense as I had been the actual head-hunter. I was still hesitating. At that moment an old woman took my arm and indicated to me with gestures that I too had to dance. The invitation was tempting and a refusal might have hurt people's feelings. So I went to get a big dao from the Ang's house decorated with goat hair, (51) and next to the Ang's brother, Wanko, I stepped into the circle of dancers. Fortunately the dance was easy and consisted primarily of a bending of the knees and a lowering to both sides, accompanied by a lifting and a lowering of the dao, following the rhythm of the song. The circular motion was very slow as between each knee bend one only took a small step to the side, always counter-clockwise. My dancing was received with great enthusiasm by dancers and spectators alike and I tried my best to imitate the movements of the others as well as possible and to take part in the song though without words. The constant bending of the knees was exhausting though, and finally my right hand in which I was brandishing the dao felt rather tired as well.