The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf notebook nine

caption: house building
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
date: 19.2.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 29.10.1936-24.3.1937
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (130) House-building.
text: When the main post is put up the sacrificial animal (usually a pig, but sometimes also a mithan, buffalo or cow) is killed at the foot of the post. The animal is killed by the oldest man of the owner's clan, but in the case of the Wakching Ang, his Benba, a Chi man called Ape, will kill it. Ape lives in Bala. There is another Benba, "the Benba of the Nokanokphong" who also acts at the rebuilding of the Aukheang, his name is Dzinghem and he lives in the Angban. (131) The Benba of Balang is Shunga, also a Chi man. The sacrificer says when killing the animal: [konyak]. Medzou says that no other words are said. The first night the two oldest men of the morung (not the clan) sleep in the new house. The elder of them kills a chicken when the house is completed and says: [konyak] (133) "Through killing this chicken the skin and flesh of the men of other villages may decay. These words (of black magic) may all together leave the house". Then the two old men eat the chicken and spend the night in the new house. "For if young men and women and children would sleep at once in the house they would fall ill. All the posts are new, and the bamboos and the palm leaves. They may have grown at bad places and make young people ill. But the old men, the two "real" (ashou) (134) old men, they are near to death anyway, t They may stay there, they won't fall ill". The next morning the owner of the house moves all his belongings into the new house.
text: The night after the old house was broken up, the owner or one man of his household, sleeps among the debris of the old house. The next day the new house is built. That night, while the two old men sleep in the new house, the owner sleeps in that of one of his friends. The next day he moves his property back to his house (135) but he still takes the evening meal in the house of his friends. He and his friend purchase for this meal a pig or some chickens and eat them together. They are killed, however, without any ceremonies.
text: (132) Niem-ang, the gaonbura of Angban, tells me that all the young men of his morung want to rebuild the Angban next autumn, in fact a few posts are already lying in front of it, but the old men fear the expenses. They say they don't know where from to take all the pigs and chickens needed, and the food for the men of other morungs.