The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, Naga notebook six

caption: detailed description of building a morung
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 25.10.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 28.8.1936-26.10.1936
refnum: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (176) Morung building.
text: The first day:
text: All the old palm leaves are removed from the roof and thrown away.
text: The second day:
text: The whole roof and all the old posts are broken up and removed.
text: The third day:
text: The old men bind together the new palm-leaves for the roof and the young men dig the holes for the new posts. Then all men assemble and before they put up the posts (177) the
text: Neang-ba throws two or three eggs into the hole for the middle main post and says: [konyak]. The posts are set up and as much of the roof is built as possible.
text: The next day:
text: The roof is finished so far that the palm leaves can be put on. This stage is called Ou-sheang-wem-bu. (178) On the Ou-sheang-wem-bu a mithan is killed (or a buffalo but they talk about "mithan"). The Ben-ba (Dzimgem, a Punkhung man living in the Ang-ban) by hitting it on the forehead with and axe and says: [konyak]. The mithan is killed just in front of the morung and the cane which runs through the nose of the mithan to fasten the roof of the morung. The axe is given to the killer (Benba). Then the young men divide the meat. (179) The Ang gets one hind-leg, the Niangba receives one foreleg, the Benba receives one hind quarter. The remaining foreleg is divided among the men who direct the building of the morung. The head is taken by the old men and eaten near the spring. The rest of the meat is taken to the house where all the food for the workers is cooked during the building of the morung. It is the house of a Sha-yong-hu man, - (it is Yonglong, not the man who makes the ceremony for the boys' initiation, but of the same family).
text: (180) The next day:
text: They thatch the roof with the palm leaves. Then the Nieng-ba sticks two crossed bamboos into the ground and over them he kills a chicken saying: [konyak]. Then he and one old man put these crossed bamboos to the ridge of the roof. Then the other men put other crossed bamboos on the roof too. He takes the chicken to his house. (181) Then the other men put crossed bamboos on top of the roof. The "horns" on the roof are the same as those of the Balang, but they are not painted red now, for lightning struck the Aukheang morung several times, so they gave it up to paint their carvings red, which they used to do (as red is the colour of the Angs). At night the Ang-ban and the Thepong people, men and women, [go] to the Aukheang and the men dance while the women look only.
text: (182) The next day they go hunting. If they kill some game the first day it is considered as a lucky omen, otherwise they continue the hunting for three or four days. In the old times they tried to get a human head. Then they beat the drum and dance a lot (only the men).
text: (182v) The name of the ground on which Wakching is built is Tem-shem. The old place where Wakching stood was called Wakching.