The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary five

caption: song and dance described , costumes
medium: diaries
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wanching
date: 5.5.1937
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: As soon as this ceremony is finished in front of the morung the dance starts to which the three morungs have come together. Thanks to the Pangsha head, today the 'Great Dance' is performed which most of the young men do not know at all. The older men, some of them standing in the centre of the dance circle, lead the young people and in addition function as lead singers. The dancers move around the space in several concentric circles. In the centre are the small boys whose circle however is not always quite closed. The larger outer circle is formed by the young men, and sometimes some older people form another exterior row. (135) Two of the older men in the centre are the lead singers who sing with their faces lifted up towards the sky simultaneously some phrases with concentration on all their vocal power, whereupon the chorus of dancers joins in. In contrast to Wakching the younger men carry shields of buffalo skin which is painted white
text: The dance in front of the Balang takes a long time. Then the whole lot moves to the highest point of Wanching where there is no morung, (136) an oval space covered with grass which rises to a summit with a rocky point on one side where the lead singers take up their place, an excellent area for unravelling the long row of dancers. It is not necessary to dance in concentric circles. It is spectacular how the figures of the colourful richly decorated dancers stand out against the sky and the blue mountains, above which now white clouds of haze are piling up. I take many photographs and hope that some will turn out well