The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf notebook ten

caption: head taking ritual at Wangla
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wangla
date: 27.2.1937
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 24.2.1937-11.4.1937
person: School of Oriental and African Studies Library, London
text: (23) Wangla.
text: The name of the "Bihu" is Areng. It lasts four days. In front of the Ang's house a bamboo pole is erected. The oldest man of the Wanghim-ban makes the genna with that pole. Each of the three morungs erect two posts and with them the oldest man of the morung does the ceremonies. On the first day: [konyak]. (24) The procession with the stone, carried on a stick by two young men, comes singing to the Ang's morung. Two boys beat gongs. The Benbas take the head from the tree and join with it the procession which walks now around the tree with the stones erected for other heads. They change several times the direction and whenever they do it, they roar in a hoarse and savage way. At last the procession stops. The Benbas dig a hole, put in the piece of head, and erect the stone on top of it. Then the elder of them fastens some leaves at the stone. (25) The Benba says when pouring madhu over the leaves fastened to the stone: [konyak] "From north, from south, your mother, your father may come". Then the procession continues to walk singing round the tree. Finally the young men go to their respective morungs and beat the drum. (26) On the second day the Ben men dance around the bamboo in front of the Ang's house while the Ang men stand close to the post.
text: (27) Song sung by the Hungphoi men during the dance: [konyak]. (28) "The Sahib came like wind and storm (which scatters leaves), to all villages has he distributed the head, all men thank him therefore". (27) Song sung by the Wangla men at the ceremony with the head: [konyak]. (28) "Moi-phong's head remained at this place, all men are thankful for now we have got a head from Pangsha". Moiphong was one of their former enemies whose head they finally took. (26v) Shen-mei is the expression for every enemy whose head is taken.
text: (29) [konyak] After the ablution, the head is hung up on the tree. Then the Benba gives to all young men small bits of ginger and [konyak] lai-mei leaves.