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: comments by Mr Keane; physique and language
medium: notes
person: Keane/ Mr
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1881
refnum: given at a meeting of the Anthropological Institute, 1881
text: Mr Keane regarded Col. Woodthorpe's able and richly illustrated paper as perhaps the most valuable contribution yet made towards the study of the so-called Naga tribes. Many statements, such especially as those relating to their agricultural practices, and the remarkable skill displayed by them in the irrigation of their upland valleys, would be received with surprise by those who had hitherto looked on these interesting tribes as occupying a very low position in the social scale. As much uncertainty still prevailed respecting their affinities to the surrounding Aryan and Mongolian races, he would be glad if the author could supply some more definite details as to their physical appearance and the structure of their dialects. The Angami, who differed in so many respects from the other Naga tribes, are said to speak a distinct language quite unintelligible to them, and he would like to know whether this was the case. Information was much needed regarding the peculiar character of all these idioms, and it would be important to ascertain whether they were monosyllabic like the neighbouring Indo-Chinese, or polysyllabic like the Sanskritic vernacular current in the Assam lowlands. With (62) regard to the physical type, the points to determine were the colour of the hair and complexion, the shape of the eyes and nose, prominence of the cheek bones, form of the head, whether dolichocephalic or brachycephalic, and mean stature. Until such leading features as these had been fixed, the problem of their true relations with the surrounding races could not be settled.
text: Sir John Lubbock, Col. Keating, Dr White, and the Chairman also joined in the discussion.