The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

letters from J.P. Mills to Henry Balfour

caption: Ornamental heads and hip ornaments and relationship to real heads taken
medium: letters
person: Balfour/ HenryPawsey
ethnicgroup: KonyakAngamiPhomLhotaKuki
date: 15.4.1924
person: Mills/ J.P.
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
refnum: Mills Ms.
text: Camp Khizobama.
text: April 15th 1924
text: My dear Balfour,
text: ...I am much relieved to hear that the series of wooden heads has turned up all right. They cost so little that there is nothing to indemnify me for! The old metal heads are very rare. Probably you have now got all there are anywhere near British Territory. As for the Konyak hip ornament with horns I will try and get Pawsey to take a photo of one being worn. Often they have a face carved on them and my own idea is that they are 'enemies' teeth' and really the same as the Angami thatsu which is often worn under the arm and not on the chest. There is a horned thatsu (No.4) figured opposite p.30, the Angami Nagas. I believe they would all go into one series. They are nothing to do with the "tails" I think, being definitely regarded as heads. Heads are as a matter of fact often taken home from raids either in baskets carried on the hip (Phoms certainly have special baskets, of which I once sent you one), or in the fold of the cloth at the side when the cloth is worn as it is in the frontispiece of my Lhota Nagas. If a real head is carried at the side what is more natural than to wear the representation of one there. I will try and get you some of the women's grave ornaments you want. My bungalow is bursting with new Kacha Naga and Kuki stuff which I will send off when I get back from this tour...
text: Yours ever,
text: J.P. Mills