The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary five

caption: sashes and sticks as presents
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Shiong
date: 1.4.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 1.4.1937-26.6.1937
note: translated from german by Dr Ruth Barnes
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: Ahon also showed me a sash which formerly used to be worn by the young men as part of their ceremonial costume, but which now has been largely replaced by a kind woven in many bright colours. The older version is made from a thin but strong thread which comes from the bark of a creeper. In Mon and Chi these sashes are still produced occasionally and when paying ceremonial visits to other villages they are presented by the girls to the boys who in turn offer tall walking sticks decorated with goats hair. (3) Between boys and girls of the same village presents are not exchanged with the same regularity as in Wakching and there are no particular gifts prescribed by custom. Now Ahon thinks that we should go to the morung as the old men would soon start with the ceremony but when we arrive they have already begun. As Ahon told me later they had approached the tree holding banana leaves of the kind with the silvery base and bowed their heads several times. Simultaneously they said "We come as messengers. Be merciful. Be satisfied ". Then they put the leaves in front of the tree and one of them starts to build a small sacrificial altar of bamboo. At this moment we arrive on the scene and without thinking anything of it I go close up to the tree and take some photographs during the continuation of the ceremony.