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: physique; tattooing
medium: notes
ethnicgroup: MutaniaSermamenBorduariaNamsangia
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1881
refnum: given at a meeting of the Anthropological Institute, 1881
text: The men are of average height and nearly all well made and well developed, and, as in the case with all their tribes, their complexion comprises every shade of brown. They would be good looking as a rule, but for the tattooing which in some cases, when done heavily, makes their faces almost black; in others the tattooing is blue, and then the bare portion of the face, especially in those of fair complexion, appears pink by contrast. The tattooing on the face is called 'ak' and consists of four continuous lines carried across the forehead round and underneath the eyes up to the nose, back over the cheeks, and round the corners of the mouth to the chin: rows of spots follow the outside lines, and two lines mark out the nose in a large diamond space. Some tribes, the Mutanias and Sermamens, do not tattoo much on the body, but their thighs are tattooed with various patterns; others, the Borduarias and Namsangias are not tattoed at all on the face, but their shoulders, wrists, bodies and thighs are covered with devices.