The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga diary five

caption: packing up to leave ; Metlou reading the omens
medium: diaries
person: Metlou
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 8.6.1937
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: (215) Wakching 8/6/1937
text: The rainy weather today made it not too difficult to pack today. I am less drawn towards the village. Almost all day long the gaonburas sat around my place hoping for things I would leave behind. They also helped tie up the individual collection specimen to carrier loads. Slowly, slowly the chaos cleared up and the boxes began to get filled. Metlou brought a few banana leaves to interpret the future for me. This is not at all a magic event with rich ceremonial but it happens quietly and unobtrusively. A piece of banana leaf is torn in strips which remain connected on one side. Then these strips are wound around the finger and are finally twisted in such a way that one no longer can tell their correct sequence. Of the six strips two are picked out and the conjurer then interprets the omen depending on which ones they are.