The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary five

caption: Metlou an omen taker , the art of augury
medium: diaries
person: Metlou
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 6.6.1937
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: Metlou confirmed that he is one of the Phong-yeam-ba, the men who take omens. (See Notebook 16 p. 4). The office is inherited in his clan though not in the direct line. (210) He learnt the art of augury from banana leaves from one of his father's brothers who was was himself a Phong-yeam-ba. Dangba is suitable for the office as well as his mother comes from the same clan. Metlou receives a payment for his offices of four or eight annas in money or rice, but poor people do not give him any payment but only some pan. He or Dangba are also consulted about the name a child should receive but this augury does not involve any secret forces but only the know-how of the technique of augury.