The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript - 'Diary of a Tour in the Naga Hills, 1922-1923' by Henry Balfour

caption: Kerami: head-hunting, houses, treatment of corpses, genna, first aid, tattooing, burial
medium: diaries
person: Hutton/ J.H.Nikrihu
ethnicgroup: Kalyo-Kengyu
location: Laruri (Kerami) Nantaleik R. (Nantalet R.)
date: 16.10.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Monday, Oct. 16
text: We stayed at Kerami the whole day. Of this I was glad, as it gave me a chance of trying to doctor my heel, which has been suppurating badly for 10 days & made walking exceedingly painful. Hutton & I went down to the village soon after 9 a.m. We had to enter the village by mounting the high notched- log ladder, which was slippery for boots, & balancing was difficult. Hutton spent some time counting the houses in the village [60 all told] & in interviewing the principal men. This is a Kalyo-Kengyu village some distance outside the administered area & liable to head-hunting raids at any time, as head-hunting continues merrily in the unadministered parts of the Hills. Afterwards, Hutton went down to the Nantalet R. to fish - no result. I stayed in the village till 2 p.m. The village is a fairly open one, on a spur jutting out from the mountain side. It is at a low elevation, though fairly high above the river. The hill-sides drop away down towards the plains of northern Burma, which could almost be seen from the rest-house. There is a large open space in the village centre. The houses are low and all are thatched. They are usually partitioned into three compartments with lattice-work walls. The doors, one at the front & one at the back, are of lattice-work. The central room is fairly large, with one or two fireplaces in the middle of the floor, each with three converging stones over the hearth, upon which a pot can stand for cooking. (
text: Inside the village are numerous in memoriam stands of bamboo poles upon which hang heads of mithan and buffaloes, pots, gourds etc. Food is placed for the spirit of the dead while a corpse remains in a house, and the outside village offerings, often quite lavish, of rice, Job's-tears etc. are made to the spirits of relatives. Crossbows are in use here & I obtained a good example. I also got one of the large bamboo bells with several clappers, which are hung upon the necks of mithan