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: house styles; fortifications; head-tree
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: RengmahSehmahLhota
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1881
refnum: given at a meeting of the Anthropological Institute, 1881
text: A practice common to all, though, as we have seen, not adopted by the Angami, is that of raising the house above the ground on posts or piles of bamboo. The house is divided generally into a front room, the floor of which is the ground itself, and here is the fireplace. Then we come to a room occupying the rest of the house, the floor of which is raised, and beyond the house is a small raised platform, a continuation of the floor, on which many of the household duties are performed, and where vegetables are dried, &c. The walls and floor of the house are of bamboo matting, with thatched roofs. The crops are generally stored in rows of small raised houses just outside the villages. The hills here present long narrow ridges, along which are built the villages, the ridge itself forming the main street, and all the houses built on either side facing inwards. This plan of letting the front of the house rest on the ground, and running it out to the back on piles, does away with the necessity for levelling sites, and renders the houses more airy, though the smoke and dirt which thickly cover the interior of the houses, walls, and roof alike, render them anything but pleasant habitations to anyone more fastidious than a Naga. The fortifications of the Rengmahs, Lhotas, and Sehmahs are not so elaborate as those of the Angami villages, though they are capable at times of making a very good defence. The principal object in the centre of the village is the large sacred tree, on which are placed the heads of enemies taken in battle.