The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary five

caption: burial of body of Ang, tree burial
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching Aopao (Chongwe) Choha
date: 9.4.1937
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: I used the presence of the Chongwe people to ask some questions and am told two remarkable things. In Chongwe the body of an Ang is put into a wooden coffin and then placed into the branches of trees, high enough so that no one can steal the skull. This is taken off after a short while and is buried in pots into the ground. Other bodies are hung up in baskets as in Chiha. The burial customs of Choha are different again. There the bodies are placed sitting into baskets and are hung up in branches and the heads are in addition tied to the wall of the basket. After about ten days the heads are taken down and are buried in pots. (32) The reason for a tree burial is the fear that the heads, especially those of wealthy people, might be stolen by enemies. Supposedly these heads are used for the same gennas as captured ones and they give the thief the right to wear headhunter's ornaments.