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: Houses, dress and ornamentation at Sheyepu; cases of head-hunting, lycanthropy and rape
medium: diaries
person: Hutton/ J.H.Mills/ J.P.Zukishe/ of Phesami
ethnicgroup: Sema
location: Sakhalu Baimho Sheyepu Mokokchung Phesami
date: 24.10.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Tuesday, Oct. 24.
text: We rode from Sakhalu to Baimho (Abakoghomnomi = "the place of the moulded dung") about 8.5 miles & arrived at 11.30 a.m. The hills are now almost entirely old or new jhum-land. After going 3 miles we stopped at Sheyepu village & spent some time in the gaonbura's house, drinking millet beer. I was given a decorated cuff of plaited cane & orchid stems. The house was in three compartments, like some other Sema houses, apsoidal in front with the carved roof-supporting post inside in consequence. There was a small apsoidal store at the back. A fairly spacious house. Great numbers of the bamboo 'necktie' hoes were drying on a platform over the fire. The women were wearing very fine necklets of shell and carnelian beads, & some of their skirts were beautifully decorated with rows of yellow & deep-orange beads. Soon after we had reached Baimho, J.P. Mills turned up from Mokokchung with his safari. I was very glad to see him. Several cases were tried by Hutton & Mills on the bungalow verandah, including the recent head-hunting raids by Sema villages, in the course of which one village, Phesami, had taken 27 heads this year. Several villages were implicated, with Zukishe of Phesami, a notorious head-hunter & were-tiger, as leader & chief 'villain of the piece'. (
text: I looked round Baimho village, which is much like other Sema villages in the district. Some houses are apsoidal at both ends, others have a flat front with overhanging gable, & the carved pillar is, in this case, outside, under the verandah roof. The apsoidal front & back seem obviously additions, as the main roof does not carry round. All the walls are of chequer lattice-work of bamboo.