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: Chang head-calling dance performed at Mokokchung; burial customs
medium: diaries
person: Chingmak/ of ChingmeiChongli khel/ Mokokchung
ethnicgroup: ChangKalyo-KengyuSangtam
location: Mokokchung Shinyu Saramati Range Ungma
date: 1.11.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Wed. Nov. 1.
text: I wrote up my notes in the morning. I had a magnificent view of Himalayan peaks to the N.W. early in the morning, the snow-range showing up pink and wonderfully clear. I got some trees & shrubs cut down to open up this splendid view. Three peaks, 23,000 to 24,000 ft. high, were very conspicuous. Some transfrontier Changs came in after breakfast, & I bought a fine dao from one of them for 15 rupees (the dao was made by a Kalyo-Kengyu Naga of Shinyu, in the Saramati Range, & was brought in by Chingmak, chief of Chingmei, who sold it to me). Some of these Changs performed their 'head-calling' dance, which was very amusing. The 'head-caller' danced & paced calling out boastfully the heads he had taken, every now & then beating his hip with his hide shield as he leapt in the air. He was closely followed by another man, functioning as jester, who made caustic & sceptical comments upon the boaster's statements, turning them into ridicule, which elicited roars of laughter from the assembled crowd. One of these Changs had been implicated in the Sangtam head-hunting raids this year, & he gave a head-hunting dance with great skill & agility. In the afternoon I went by myself & revisited Mokokchung village, especially the morungs & xylophones, & made sketches. I also went to the place, just outside the village, beyond the Chongli morung, where the dead are placed on small machans which are roofed over like the houses. The form of the roof & front in this miniature house on piles, repeats that of the actual house of the dead man & some have the double, projecting front gable, the angular, bowed front of the houses of genna performers. Some had small reproductions of the carved posts erected in front of the houses, carved with tigers, hornbills, etc. Miniature wooden pillars