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: treatment of corpses
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Naked Nagas
location: Wanching (Tablung)
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1881
refnum: given at a meeting of the Anthropological Institute, 1881
text: The dead are sometimes as at Tablung, &c., wrapped tightly up in mats, and, resting in a long canoe-shaped cradle of wood, the ends projecting and carved, are placed among the upper branches of big trees just outside the villages. In other parts they are placed in small houses, the beaks at the end of the coffin projecting through (74) the front of the house. A small window is left at the side, I believe for the convenience of the dead man's spirit. These dead-houses, unlike the custom obtaining among the other tribes, are not outside the stockade, but actually within the village precincts, close to the dwellings; so in order to obviate any unpleasantness from the newly dead, fires are lighted in front of their resting places, the fuel being chaff and rice straw, which smoulders slowly, a plentiful supply of smoke being obtained by heaping over the fire a pile of green boughs and leaves.