The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

typescript - J.H. Hutton's tour diary in the Naga Hills

caption: Yacham pay of fine of one mithan; feasting; skulls
medium: tours
location: Yacham Yong Phomching
date: 12.3.1921
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 1.3.1921-20.3.1921
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Hutton Ms. Box 2
text: 12th
text: To Yacham, from which we visited Yong, a smaller village rather less than half a mile from Yacham which periodically requests to be taken over as Yacham is usually intriguing with Phomching to destroy Yong so that Yacham can get its land. We returned to the Dikhu a little higher up the stream below Chantongia. The mithan for the fine were tied up ready for us when we got to Yacham and half the village turned out on the path up with chungas and modhu. There was a positive flood of drink and as Yacham have an evil notoriety for the use of poison they insisted on first tasting everything that was offered one to prove their bona fides. A horde of Ao gaonburas turned up, as they all have friends in Yacham and trade there regularly, and the chiefs of Urangkong and Hukpang turned up at Yong. Even so there was more Salami madhu and aksu meat than they could possibly deal with, though the dobashis consumed as much of the former as they could and rather more than they could carry with entire propriety. Everyone parted very friendly with vows of presents of red cloth and virtuous behaviour for the future respectively. Except in Yansa (Joboka) I have never seen so many heads as there are in Yacham - but the proportion of immature skulls is very much higher than in most villages. All are decorated with mithan or buffalo horns in the Konyak manner, and the reason is said to be that if this is done the dead man does not hear his friends calling for him and therefore omits to warn them of his fate so that others of his relations searching for him also fall into the hands of the slayer. The Aos sometimes string a dog's skull above the skull of their enemy in order that the dog, by its yapping, may achieve the same end.