The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

miscellaneous papers, notebooks and letters on Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower, 1937-1947

caption: food taboos
medium: notes
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1937-1946
person: private collection
text: Food Taboos.
text: The following may be eaten by old men only:
text: 1. python
text: 2. tiger, leopard-cat, leopard, and jungle-cats generally.
text: 3. game which had strayed into the village and been killed there.
text: 4. animals which died giving birth (this only occasionally; often they are not eaten at all).
text: 5 any wild game killed by a woman.
text: The following are forbidden to women:
text: 1. goat (lest they acquire its amorous habits; when the men cook goat they use separate pots, or are made to scrub the family post out thoroughly before they are put back into general use).
text: 2. dog (no reason given)
text: 3. bear (no reason given, except that "It is unpleasant to look at")
text: 4. huluks and monkeys, because "they look human". Some women do, however, eat monkeys.
text: 5. hunampui, a jungle rat which lives in an underground burrow. "Because it looks like a rat".
text: 6. squirrels, "Because women don't like such a small thing".