The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

letters from J.P. Mills to Henry Balfour

caption: tour of Konyak area with Hutton; Konyak daos and cowrie belts, mithan and buffalo sacrifice, drums, carving and tattoos
medium: letters
person: Balfour/ HenryHutton/ J.H.Shakespear
ethnicgroup: KonyaksAngamiAoChang
location: Yonghong (Yunghong) Yangyu R. Mon Chi (Chui)
date: 26.4.1923
person: Mills/ J.P.
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Mills Ms.
text: Camp Merangkong
text: April 26th 1923
text: My dear Balfour,
text: ...Another box is already on its way after them and I shall have to do some more packing when I get back from this tour. It has not been very productive in the way of specimens. Going about with an escort is not the ideal of getting in touch with the people. But we had an intensely interesting time, in awful weather. One village called Yunghong, across the Yangyu, interested me particularly. The people are Konyaks of sorts, but with long daos and cowrie belts, but contrary to what I for one expected, they set up stones for mithan sacrifices and use a sledge of the Angami pattern. Hutton took photographs and notes everywhere, so you must pester him for copies. Our reception was good everywhere and excellent in some places. The last part of our trip, that to Mon and Chui, was blocked by swollen rivers and we had to cut it out. The sepoys, coolies and everyone were tired and sick of rain. There were a few sick, but no deaths and I think I was the fittest of the three Sahibs. Hutton and Shakespear brought men who could "cook a bit", leaving my son of the prophet behind. We suffered accordingly.
text: Talking of "drums", the Konyak villages we went through had "drums" of the Ao type, but with even more realistic buffalo heads. They keep buffalo and seem to use them more than mithan for sacrifice. The house fronts in some places are of boards carved with buffalo heads - highly conventionalised as a rule. You get every stage. The mouth and ears are merely the carved pattern these Konyaks and Changs tattoo on their chests. It flashed on me looking at the boards one day that that is the origin. Hutton has sketches of every stage I think...
text: Yours ever,
text: J.P. Mills