The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

miscellaneous notes on the Tangkhuls by Ursula Graham Bower

caption: burial at Ukhrul
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Tangkhul
location: Ukhrul
date: 2.1939
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1939-1946
person: Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge
refnum: Betts papers, folder 7
text: (1) Tangkhul Funeral
text: Ukhrul, Feb: 1939.

1. Old man pours zu and breaks dead man's platter on site of grave to be opened.
2. Digging begun by old man.
3. Younger men continue.

2nd. Day
4. Old grave opened.
5. Elderly man, last relation of previous dead, brings out the bones.
6. Bones washed in zu.
7. Bones wrapped in cloth.
8. Baskets, spear, etc. of previous dead stacked on side of grave.
9. Bier prepared for new dead from bed. Food left by his head while in the house thrown away and fresh prepared.
10. Dead man borne out and laid on bier, and covered with cloths presented to him by his friends and previously hung in front of the house.
11. Body borne to grave, with ornament representing the love affairs of his youth at his head. Dying man is asked to say numbers he wants shown.
(2) 12. Body laid near grave. Elders and men of his khel circle the body slowly, chanting, taking farewell and bidding the spirit go to the land of the dead beyond Sirohi.
13. Dead man's best cloth is torn a little, so that the guardian of the road will not take it from him.
14. Body and bier put separately into grave.
(3) 15. Spear, implements, grave-goods, food etc. placed in grave. (These included an umbrella).
16. Bones of previous dead man put in corner of vault, wrapped in cloth.
17. Stone door put into place.
18. Grave-pit filled in, and previous dead man's grave-goods thrown into shaft filling.
text: General
text: The death occured just before a big genna, and caused postponement of the feast for one day.
text: The dead man was a dependent of the headman's and offered himself as a dependent and follower.
text: Two buffaloes were sacrificed for the funeral.
text: A woman of his kin kept wailing and lamenting over the body all the time, kissing (4) and embracing it at intervals.
text: When the vault was first re-opened, the previous dead man was told that there was another coming.
text: When his bones were taken out and washed with zu, a woman of his kin came and wailed over them.
text: (8) SKETCH