The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes on the Zemi Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower

caption: carved stone figures
medium: notes
location: Asalu Laisong
date: 9.19425.3.1945
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1939-1946
refnum: Betts papers, ring binder 1
person: Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge
text: Though they are rare and not strictly speaking monuments, some mention may be made here of the few stone figures which are to be found in the Zemi country. The most recent is that already mentioned, the Laisong female figure. Besides this, there is a very ancient, crude and weathered stone elephant at Impoi,
text: The old site of Impoi was for many years under jungle, and the elephant has suffered considerably from weather and probably from jhum fires, so much so that it is difficult to say how much of its shape is natural and how much the result of carving. (I have recently noticed - Sept. 1942 - that it has the left tusk indicated by incised lines.) It is undoubtedly an elephant, and the curve of the trunk, the ears and the ridge of the spine can be clearly distinguished. The eyes are merely two holes. It is known as Hekepwonagu-kepwo - Hepepwona's elephant - and seems to have been put up for no purpose except to perpetuate the maker's name, if it is his name.
text: Some way up the hillside behind Asalu is a large mass of rock with a slab cracked off one end, the main block being "Asa's Jappa" and the slab the lid. Between this and Asalu village are three or four large monoliths, erected as a monument. It is said the bucks and girls used to amuse themselves by making standing jumps from the top of one to the next above, a feat entailing considerable agility and the risk of a very nasty fall between the stones. Near the supposed cow (also known as "Asa's cow") is a large, flat sickle-shaped stone, called "Asa's Drinking-horn". Like "Asa's Jappa" and the monoliths, it is uncarved, and owes its name to its natural shape.
text: Other relics, Naga and non-Naga, almost certainly exist somewhere in the jungles, and will there remain till jhuming or the re-settlement of old sites uncovers them. The location of others reported only a few years ago has been forgotten, and they have disappeared as though they had never been.
text: (Since writing the note on carved figures, I have seen the following:
text: 1. One old village site midway between Khangnam and Daoban, 2 stone-carved elephants half buried in the soil. Photographed.
text: 2. On old site 1 m. north of Peisia (new Peisia), carved elephant, selected as boundary mark between lands of Peisia and Sunghungbong (Khunglung) Kuki. Now much defaced, allegedly at the hands of the Kukis. Smaller stone representing baby elephant alongside it. 5.3.45)