The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf notebook three

caption: Shiong customs concerning head hunting and treatment of heads
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Shiong
date: 11.8.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 8.1936-6.1937
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (39) 11/8/1936 Informant: Ahon.
text: Shiong customs:
text: When a head is brought to the village the widow of the revenged man says [konyak] then she twisted the spear into the victim's eyes. This is done near the village, before the head-taking party enters, - the old men pour madhu into the victim's mouth. Then the head-takers dance with the head three times round (40) the heap of stones near the Ang's house, then they take the head to the morung, - if the men of several morungs have killed the men all of them dance, - for the first night the head remains in the morung of the man who has actually taken it.
text: The next morning the men fetch a stone (about 80-100cm long), then they make a small basket in which they put the ears of the victim, - then they dig a hole outside the Ang's house (near the stone heap), put first the basket with the ears into the hole and then erect the stone in the hole.
text: Then the widow of the man (41) who was killed first, will kill one pig in the name of the man who first wounded the enemy, - this man takes some rice and some meat and rice and says [konyak] but he doesn't eat the rice and meat, - only the old men eat of it.
text: (42) If the village originally had lost several heads, all of the widows will spear the head and sacrifice pigs, one each, - but if only one head was lost and ten taken in revenge only one pig will be killed. The widow gives the pig, but the old men kill it. In killing it they say the same words which the head-taker said. Then the old men cook the head outside the village, - in a special pot which is kept in the drum-house, they take away the skin and flesh, - sometimes they throw away the meat and sometimes they bury it in front of the Ang's house, - then the head is taken to the head stone in front of the morung, a bamboo is erected and the head put just to the bottom of the bamboo. Then the head remains there for about ten months, - but on the 12th day after the head was taken, the first, second and third killer will feast the whole village, young and old, and the old men feed the head with rice and madhu, and rub the skull with the fat of a pigs stomach to make it dark (this ceremony - Yana tong-pu).
text: (44) At the next Ou-ling-bu (A-lea-bu), the head is taken to the first killer's house. At this time the head is again fed. They make a genna for three days, - if the first killer is of Ben clan the old men of his clan keep the skull for three days, if the first killer is of Ang clan he keeps the skull in his house for three days, - the lower jaw is kept there by him or the old men respectively - while the skull goes to the Ang's house.
text: From now on the Ang feeds the skull during the A-lea-bu every years; and the (45) killer feeds the lower jaw.