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: granaries; 'rainbow' memorials
medium: notes
person: Hutton
location: Yangnyu R. (Yangmun R.)
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1881
refnum: given at a meeting of the Anthropological Institute, 1881
text: They build a large number of granaries in their fields for the reception of the crops when first gathered. These houses are long low structures on piles, having their roofs tapered up for a considerable length, at one end only, or at both. These curious buildings, dotting the bare hill-sides, and standing out against the dark red soil, look at a distance exactly like huge crocodiles lying about. Another striking feature in the landscape is a curious erection seen near most villages, which is visible a very long way off. It looks at a distance like a large silver chevron [This probably represents, according to Dr. Hutton, the rainbow as the bridge by which spirits from the sky come down to the earth. It may perhaps be put up to fetch back the lost soul of a man killed in warfare from the enemy village which has taken his head.- N.K.R. ] turned upside down. It is made of split pieces of wood with the white face turned outwards, placed close together vertically, and fastened to large curves of cane or bamboo, suspended between three trees: the whole length varies from 40 to 50 feet, and the average width is 6 feet, widening to 12 feet in the centre. We could not arrive at the meaning of these erections as we were here quite beyond interpretation; but they were always put up facing towards a village with which their builders were at war: there was no idea of fortification about them.