The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - J.H. Hutton, Diaries of Two Tours in the Unadministered Area East of the Naga Hills', 1926

caption: first tour
caption: Yaktu declares war on Ukha; dart-like weapon; women's skirts; women's hairstyle; witness stones; Yonghong village; tattoos - buffalo pattern; similarities between the Angami, Nzemi and Konyak; standing stones; face tattoos; log-drums; morung carvings; heads; device for keeping rats out of granaries; lack of village organization
medium: articlestours
person: WoodthorpeBalfour/ Henry
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Yakthu (Yaktu) Yonghong Ukha Shakchi Anphang (Angfang)
date: 17.4.1923
person: Hutton/ J.H.
date: 4.1923-27.4.1923
text: April 17th. - Via Yaktu ('Yakchu' according to the Survey and to some of the neighbouring villages) to Yonghong (' Yanghum ' of the Survey).
text: Yaktu, on the day we passed, gave Ukha two months' notice of hostilities- The casus belli was that when the young men of Ukha went to loot a Yaktu ' mithun ' (they probably called it " realizing a debt") and the Yaktu bucks turned out to chase them off, one of the latter got stuck on one of his own village ' panjis' War between these two villages seems to be normally of a friendly description. Women are not killed and due notice of war is given before raiding starts. Both villages had plenty of heads hanging up, but many of the Ukha ones came from Shakchi. There seems to be a state of permanent war between this range and those further west, and the languages spoken are different, though both groups must be classed as Konyak, I think.
text: In Yaktu I saw a weapon new to me which consisted in a dart made, in this case, of a broken spear-shaft of sago palm and feathered like an arrow with pandanus leaf but intended to be thrown by hand (Pl. 2, fig. 2). The feathers were lozenge shaped like those of the usual cross-bow quarrel. [See The Sema Nagas. pp.23, 24.] The Semas tell me that their children use a toy of this pattern. The point of these Yaktu-Yonghong darts is only cut sharp, and though it could no doubt inflict a wound, it does not strike one as a very formidable weapon. Mr. Henry Balfour tells me that the feathered javelin is a very uncommon type of weapon. [I see that Adonis in the Titian discovered in 1923 in the National Gallery carries a feathered spear of the same pattern as the arrows in his quiver: the king of Kochin' is represented in an ancient print as riding on an elephant with a feathered spear in his hand (Iyer, Cochin Tribes and Castes - II- 5) and Keate mentions as used in the Pelew Islands darts five to eight feet long pointed with wood and "bearded" (Pelew Islands p. 89 [1789]).]
text: The women on this range, as at Pongu, Yungphong and Yanching, all wear a very narrow petticoat some five inches deep, [SKETCH
text: Again here we saw round stones, some of them with little tassels on each side, like enemy heads hanging up in the morungs where the heads are hung, and were given a more detailed account of their use. We were told that they were taken at a peace-making from the enemy's land the other side taking them from their land. Other Konyaks, e.g. Chi, set up a stone in the ground on the spot at the time of making a treaty of peace [So too the Khasis v, Hooker. Himalayan Journals. ch. xxix.] and if either party break the treaty, the injured side goes to the stone and tells it about the breach and justifies its conduct to the stone before it starts raiding again. Apparently these witness stones hung up in the Laktu morungs serve the same purpose. [Cf. Frazer Folk-Lore in the Old Testament, II- 403 sqq.] It must be very much more convenient to expound your case before the impartial stone at leisure and at length in your own morung, than to have to go to the edge of the enemy country, risking both your life and the disclosure of your hostile intentions before you can retaliate for the breach of good faith which he has committed, or which you are pleased to impute to him with enough plausibility to convince the stone of the justice of your cause.
text: Yonghong is one of the most interesting Naga villages I have seen as well as the biggest I have ever been in. There are really two villages, which, though only just separated, are marked as different villages on the map. But even omitting the smaller of the two, the main village is enormous. All these people are Konyaks of some sort, and a certain resemblance between the Konyaks and the Angamis, not shared by other tribes so much, had struck me long before this, but the inhabitants of Yonghong go much further than any Konyaks I have seen before towards identity with the Angami, or perhaps rather with the Nzemi division of the Kacha Nagas, who have clearly been very much influenced by, and have probably had a very great deal of reciprocal influence upon, the Angami of Khonoma. [A village to the S.W. of Kohima.] [SKETCH
text: It was in Yaktu or Yonghong that Mills pointed out the obvious relation between the "ostrich feather" tattoo pattern of the Changs [V. infra p. 51 for drawing.] and the conventional representation of a buffalo's head, the horns having disappeared in the tattoo pattern or run over on to the shoulders perhaps, leaving the curled ears and a prolonged nose (Pl. 2, fig. 8). The same, development of the ear at the expense of the horn probably accounts for the similar pattern so popular in the Nzemi carvings in Kenoma Chekwema and Gwilong ; though in one instance I noticed in Gwilong that mithun horns an equally popular adornment for the head of warriors carved on gates or houses, had their points turned down instead of up, making them look like the wings of a mediaeval jester's cap. It is to be noticed also that the Nzemi representation of a warrior (Pl. 2, fig. 9
text: [SKETCH
text: In Yonghong I noticed a row of dolmens below the village and more in the village itself (Pl. 3, fig. 2). Two big menhirs I found overturned in jungle. They seemed to have stood one on each side of a small ditch or stream. Two other big ones were still standing outside the smaller village, one long and narrow, the other squat and thick, but both big and clearly very old (Pl. 2, fig. 7
text: I noticed here a face tattoo which I have occasionally seen before in Phom villages, probably on runaways from further east, and which is, I believe, worn in Tobu. In the form I saw here it is a line running from the forehead down the nose, at the tip of which it broadens out, with three dots on each side. Tobu I think, wear it the other way up and extend it to the chin as well (Pl. 3, fig. 5).
text: Yonghong had some very realistic buffalo-headed drum-logs in private houses. Most rich men here seem to have their own drum-logs. One wonders whether the metal gongs so beloved of Kukis and other tribes, and always a mark of wealth or importance, have merely replaced wooden and less portable antecessors.
text: The morung carvings here ran to monstrosities - tigers with elephant-tusks (Pl- 2, fig. 1), tigers with buffalo-horns, and in one case a two-headed tiger. [SKETCH
text: The village organization of Yonghong is very Angami-like in its non-existence. There is no one who can give an order which has any serious chance of being obeyed, or who has any appreciable control over any one else. This gave us a good deal of trouble, as we could get nothing done without interminable delay and exhausting ourselves with horrid threats. They had made up their minds that we had better camp beyond the village, in the valley where Woodthorpe had camped, and they had cleared a path round the outskirts of the village so that we should not pass through it, and tried hard to push us on to the Muksha river, but as we wanted to see the village and had to get carriers out of it next morning, we disobligingly camped alongside it.
text: Height 5,700 ft., and cold enough as well as wet.