The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

manuscript notes on the Zemi Nagas by Ursula Graham Bower

caption: dances
caption: Phi-tsai-lim
medium: notes
person: Graham Bower/ Ursula
date: 1939-1946
refnum: Betts papers, ring binder 1
person: Centre for South Asian Studies, Cambridge
text: Phi-tsai-lim.
text: Bamboo laid on ground across dekachang. Bucks line up on one side, girls on the other. Step back R. foot, turning body in line, pause (no leap). Back left foot, turning body other way, right shoulder leading.
text: Bucks retreat, girls advance with same step, ending with foot placed on bamboo, heel on ground; girls retreat, bucks advance, hornbills' feather raised in R. hand, place foot on bamboo. Repeat in quickening tempo, till finale, when both sides have foot on bamboo, heel on ground, and bucks try to push bamboo back, lunging rhythmically, while girls try and stand firm. Elders and old women often join in. Even if girls hold their own for a while (as at Katang, 15.5.1946) they eventually tire and give way. Bucks at Katang, failing to shift bamboo, unsportingly used levers, and made rude gestures at the girls afterwards, a thing the girls countered with a couple of brisk slaps.