The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - 'Notes on the Wild Tribes Inhabiting the So-Called Naga Hills, on our North-East Frontier of India', by Col. R.G. Woodthorpe, 1881

caption: Angami ear ornaments; necklaces and neck ornaments
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Angami
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1881
refnum: given at a meeting of the Anthropological Institute, 1881
text: The chief ornament for the ear is a very handsome one. It consists of a rosette or flower about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, the centre being a couple of emerald beetle's wings surrounded with a circle of long shiny white seeds, the whole enclosed in a fringe of short red hair. The flower is formed on a cup and stem of wood, and from the cup a long streamer of red hair falls to the shoulders. The stem passes through the lobe of the ear into a boar's tusk ornamented with red and yellow cane work. The ear is also pierced in several places to receive huge bunches of cotton wool or brass rings. Bunches of blue jay feathers form another very pretty ear ornament. Necklaces of cornelian (long hexagonal shaped pieces) and coloured glass beads, and a peculiar dull yellow stone, decorate their throats; and in the nape of the neck is invariably worn a large white conch shell, shaped so as to lie flat, and suspended by a thick collar of dark-blue cotton threads. Another ornament worn sometimes as a necklace, and sometimes as a scarf, is formed of an oblong piece of wood 8 inches by 4, covered with alternate rows of white seeds and black and red hair, and fringed all round with long red hair; this is suspended from the shoulder by a cotton rope ornamented with cowries and (51) long tufts of black and red hair. In most Naga ornaments the black hair is human hair taken from scalps of foes, and the scarlet is goats' hair dyed.