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: tattoos
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: Naked Nagas
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1881
refnum: given at a meeting of the Anthropological Institute, 1881
text: The men of this tribe tattoo on the chest after taking their first head. The pattern consists of four lines which spring from the navel diverging as they ascend, and turn off into two large concentric curves over each breast, the lines broadening out to about one inch in width at the middle of the curves. The tattooing is done by scraping the skin with a dao, a sharp stone, and rubbing in very finely pounded rice. The colouring matter is the juice of a berry which is crushed over the powdered rice and leaves an indelible black stain.