The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary five

caption: funeral of Ang's daughter
caption: effect of death on children
medium: diaries
person: ApiWangpo
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 17.5.1937
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: The coffin with nine hornbill bird heads was standing in front of the door and Api, the Benba of the Ang, was just staining it red. Later Wangpo arrived and cut a mat into shape so it would fit into the coffin. A lot of children were standing around watching. They seemed not very impressed by the death and the clearly audible wailing of the Ang's wife, and often they were laughing and commenting to each other. Now some old men came and fastened crossbars to the coffin so that they would be able to carry it on their shoulders. The children watched all of this with interest but they were immediately diverted when I took some photographs of them. That caused laughter and screams so that I quickly stopped not to cause a disturbance for the mourners. I expected that the coffin would be carried into the house and then the body be put in as is done at the funeral of adults. Instead, four of the old men stepped out of the house unexpectedly and lifted the coffin onto their shoulders. The oldest man of the morung followed carrying the small body in his arms. (157) Immediately a precession formed.