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: Difficult march on Naga Path; morungs and home industries in Nankam
medium: diaries
person: Mills/ J.P.Yabang/ of NankamTselur Tsungpha/ of NankamWathi/ Wangtsi of Nankam
ethnicgroup: AoSemaLhota
location: Okotso Lungkam (Nankam) Wokha Mt. Wakching Mokokchung Japvo Mt. (Japro Mt.)
date: 27.11.1922
person: Balfour/ Henry
date: 1922-1923
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Mon. Nov. 27th.
text: Mills walked on early, to escape the sun, as he was feeling a bit feverish. I got started at 7.45 a.m., as soon as my loads had gone off, & was carried past Okotso to Nankam (an Ao village) c. 8 miles. It was a Naga path all the way, very rough, steep & difficult; I had a stormy & uncomfortable journey, though the scenery was fine. Just outside Nankam there are rhododendrons of huge side, regular forest trees with massive trunks. A few Vanda Caerulea orchids were still in flower. A large Wreathed-hornbill with pure white tail flew over us, making a great noise with its wings. The Nankam bungalow is a good one, on a knoll just outside the village, close to a morung & a huge xylophone, which I sketched before lunch. The views all round from the bungalow are magnificent. Wokha mountain stands prominently fairly close; Wakching Hill to the north, beyond Mokokchung; the Sema country to the east; the Lhota country to the west & south; and, beyond, the Plains & Himalayas. Japro can be seen to the south. In the afternoon I went about the village by myself, sketching xylophones etc., visiting four more morungs which are all more or less of a pattern & rather in disrepair. The thatched roofs came down very low at the sides, the roof-ridge rises high in front, & the verandah is enclosed, with angular front - after the style of rich mens' houses (the poorer ones have flat fronts, but may have a widely overhanging apsoidal verandah roof). The morung floors are very uneven, being mostly the ground-surface, & the division into compartments is but slightly marked. There are no sleeping benches. The pillar and beam carvings are poorly executed, usually tigers on the pillars. The back is quite open. I photo'd some groups & houses etc., & went into several houses to drink zu & make friends with the Ao owners. The women were very shy & would not be photographed, but I managed to snap some unawares, with the help of my dummy lens. I saw a large house- pillar being 'dragged' (carried on a bamboo raft by a dozen men, all chanting, with an old man dancing in front). Women were spinning, weaving, cotton-cleaning, dhan-pounding & winnowing with 'vannus'-like baskets, & photo'd a group of three men on a house platform, viz. Yabang (gaonbura) on the left; Tselur Tsungpha (gaonbura) in centre, and Wathi Wangtsi (dobashi) on the right.