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: "Burial by proxy"; offerings for sickness; jungle scenery; archery; Ang's house at Wakching
medium: diaries
person: Mills/ J.P.
ethnicgroup: KonyakChang
location: Wakching Dikhu R.
date: 14.11.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Tues. Nov. 14th.
text: We struck camp early & loads were transfered to coolies from Wakching. It took some time to get everything started off. Most of the coolies forded the river below the camp, a few joppas being ferried over on the raft, on which we crossed ourselves. After climbing up to the bridle-path I got into the chair & was carried the rest of the way by Wakching Konyaks. They were absolutely stark naked but carried slight embellishments which I totted up as follows - (1) Large yellow flower in one ear-lobe & strip of cane round waist; (2) Serow-horn in one ear & in the other a tuft of purple flower (wild cock's comb) & a wooden peg, cane strip belt; (3) bunch of leaves in one ear, bunch of orange flower in the other together with bamboo shavings, goitre on throat; (4) curved wooden peg in each ear & cane strip belt; (5) Orange-flower 'buttonhole' in each ear-lobe; (6) Strip of orange-peel in one ear-lobe. That was the entire outfit. The way was most beautiful through virgin jungle with tall timber trees, long llianas, calamus, canes & creepers climbing luxuriantly over everything; palms in variety & ferns abundant. The plantains were very tall & their leaves not frayed out, giving a beautiful colouring. Lovely ravines with beautiful waterfalls at their heads, though the water was low at this time of year. Nothing could be scenically finer. A large eagle flew overhead; Huluks were calling loudly & a Macaque was seen. On the way up from the Dikhu R. we passed a small mock 'burial'. The body of the man who lost his life when the bridge collapsed not having been recovered, was buried 'by proxy'; his cloth having been obtained from his village, was wrapped in a bundle & suspended from a simple trestle at the side of the path. His personal cloth represented