The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf notebook nine

caption: the Neangba officials, their rights and duties
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 29.10.1936
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 29.10.1936-24.3.1937
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (1) Wakching 29/10/1936
text: Shou-dzo-nok (man's head house) is the place near the house of the Niengba of Au-kheang. Chinyak, whose house it was died, and his successor Yonglong remained in his own house, however. When a Sha-yong-hu or a Yamahu man has taken a head his clan assemble on this spot. Shau-dzong is a place near the old Ang site, before the Ang-ban morung. Here pieces of the mouth, ear and nose of (2) every head taken are buried by the Au-kheang Neang-ba. At this place the young men throw bamboo spears at Ouling-bu: first the Bala men, then Balang, The-pong, Au-kheang and at last Ang-ban. The Ang erects on this place a long bamboo (ghei-phung) - "the genna bamboo".
text: (3) The council of the ten Neangbas settles disputes and imposes fines. For setting fire on the jungle the fine is one big basket of rice. It is eaten by the Neangbas [and] the owner of the ground. There is no fine for setting fire on a house, this is considered as the "work of spirits". The Neangbas also take the omen where to cultivate the next year. They assemble in the Ang's house and make the omen with eggs. (4) Then Shunga, a Chui man who came with the Ang, - the Ou-wok-ba (the "egg-seeing man"), - he is Neangba too, makes the omen from one egg for the Ang people, ie. to see if the Ang people will be alright in the next year or if many will die. Then he makes a similar omen for the Ben people. At last he makes the omen for the fields. If it is favourable for the proposed land they (5) don't take any more omens and cultivate there. If it is bad, another direction is proposed and he makes another omen. This omen was taken a few days ago, - on the fifth of the month Shou- ban-li, for the first time. It will be made on the fifteenth day of this month for the second time. The work of taking the omen is believed to be dangerous, therefore the other Neangbas don't touch the eggs. On that day other people don't go too near to the Neangbas as this business is very "genna". (6) If another man would see the omen with the eggs he would get head-ache.
text: The Au-kheang Neangba also takes off the heads from the head-trees, cleans them and makes a hole into the skull to fasten them. The Neangbas of The-pong and Bala have not special functions. At Pong-long-pong-li the Neangbas buy a pig with the money they have collected from fines and kill it near the Thepong rest house. The (7) Neangbas of the Balang and of the Aukheang get one hind-leg each. The others divide the rest. When all the men go hunting and kill deer and pigs, the Balang Neangba, Yo-pong, gets a share from the breast and stomach of every animal killed. He doesn't get shares of animals individually chased. If an elephant is killed he also gets a share. When the Balang morung is rebuilt all the Neangbas come together and paint the carvings (8) red and black. Only one man, Mong-nei, the servant of the gaonbura Nie- ang, from Punkhung mixes the red colour with water, which is very genna. Nie-ang's father bought his father from Punkhung as a slave. Mongnei's elder brother is Dzing-gem, who makes gennas for illness. Dzing-gem has a house of his own and is married to a woman of Bala. Mong-nei lives with him. His own wife, also of Wakching, has died.