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: villages; morungs; carvings; skulls decorated with horns
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Naked Nagas
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1881
refnum: given at a meeting of the Anthropological Institute, 1881
text: A general description of the villages, &c., will suffice for all here. The plan of the village is somewhat similar to that of the Hatigorias, &c., except that the fortifications are not so elaborate. The "Morangs" (bachelor's houses) are much more elaborately carved and ornamented than in any other part of the hills: figures of elephants, deer, tigers, &c., being carved on all the principal uprights, and, in some, life-sized figures of men and women, clothed and tattoed after life. The weather boards are carved with figures of birds and fishes, and painted in great detail with red, black, and white stripes, circles, and dots. The morangs are divided into three parts: first, the front verandah enclosed at the sides; second, the body of the house, containing the sleeping apartments and store-room on either side of a central passage (each sleeping room contains four planked bed places arranged in twos like the berths of a ship, one above the other, on either side of a small fireplace); third, a large room open to the small back verandah, this room contains a fireplace with a few planks as seats around it, and is floored with immense hollowed beams. In the back of verandah, which has a low circular roof, are hung all the trophies of war and of the chase. The big drum is also (73) kept here. A curious custom prevails in this district of decorating the skulls of enemies taken in battle with a pair of horns, either buffalo or methua [ In Assamese mithun.-N.K.R.], and failing these, with wooden imitations of them.