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: women's grave ornaments
medium: notes
location: Impoi
date: 1.1943
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1937-1946
person: private collection
text: They also put up near the grave (as for all men) a pole with carved edges and an affair at the top like nothing so much as Japanese windbells, though the pendants were wooden imitations of hornbill's feathers. Near this was an affair of 2 concentric rings of thin stakes roughly interwoven with others to form a fence. Outside the outer fence were 4 plantain stems on wooden legs like a saw-horse, one end split to resemble a mouth with wood stuck in for tushes, and the far (thin) end turned up like a tail. They represented wild pig.
text: The post affair is called mpa-na or mpa-na-bang, the fences etc hel-ling.
text: In Jan 1943 I saw one [an Mpa-na] in Impoi put up in honour of a woman who had recently died. It resembled that seen at Laisong, but the pendants were spindles with their whorls. The name seems to be the same for both kinds. The Laisong one was cut down within 24 hours, the Impoi one was left standing some while.