The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary four

caption: carrying in the head at Oting, dancing and ceremonial
caption: feasting the village to get head-taker's tattoos; monkey skulls on head-takers' baskets
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Oting
date: 28.2.1937
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: Now the dance stops and the youngest boys go into the jungle to get great numbers of the large, longish leaves which are used at gennas. In the meantime a heated debate develops among the old men about the further events. Foremost of all now already the question is raised of who will be allowed to wear the full decoration of a head-hunter. In former times only the man who had actually himself killed an enemy had had the right to fasten a monkey skull to his small basket. Now the old men decide that only those may wear this highest symbol who feed the entire village at the final ceremony. This then is a form of buying the head-hunter's costume but it only refers to the monkey skulls. The cheek and neck tattoos are available to all boys who participate in the genna. This consultation takes quite long and is carried out with great vociferousness.