The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

part of original tour diary of Lt. R.G. Woodthorpe 1876

caption: Detailed description of houses, funeral customs, morungs and inhabitants of Chihu and Yachim
medium: tours
person: Tulloch/ Col
ethnicgroup: KhasiaAngami
location: Srann R. Yacham (Yajim) Chihu Yacham (Yachim) Urangkong (Wangkhong) Kamahu Tangsa Makware (Singpho)
date: 13.2.1876
person: Woodthorpe/ R.G.
date: 1875-1876
person: Pitt Rivers Museum Archive, Oxford
text: Sunday 13th.
text: (Cloudy early threatening rain which did not fall. Fitfull hot sun and country rather obscure. Very clear night. Height of river Srann 1360/1400 M = 1380. Height of 1st Jajim = 3710/3630 M = 3670. A small suburb with 25 houses. Height of 2nd Jajim 3710/3630 M = 3670 about 180 houses. Height of Chihu 3610/3500 M = 3555 about 300 houses. Height of camp 3210/3170 M = 3190. Min = 54. Ditto Yaim M = 3280. Road today fair but very steep both in descent and ascent. No jungle - jooms having just been burned.)
text: Up early. Was assured at starting that there was no road round the ridge of Yachim. I did not quite believe this, but having all the coolies and considering the waste of time which would be caused if we had all to come back, I determined to take the only road the Nagas could show us. I found out in the evening that we could have gone round. I went out about a mile the other side of the village. I got in a little and then returned to Col. Tulloch about 9.30 and we started. Reached the river Srann about 11.30. Breakfasted. I came up afterwards. Arrived at Yajim about 2.30. Made sketch of morung and then went through Chihu to fields about 1.5 miles beyond. Saw some fellows from Wangkhong. Three bolted at once. Got some work done and came into camp about 6.30. After dinner Khasias played and danced round our fire.
text: The camp is in some fields. A very good spot. Water in a big pool just above on the road. We are between Yachim and Chihu about quarter of a mile to the north.
text: Yachim is a largish village and built on a tolerably level piece of ground. The general sites of these villages are the same as all along these hills. I mean that the rock crops up in mainly vertical strata and that the paths and lanes are along their face no care being taken to clear the roadway at all.
text: Chihu or Shushu is a large village built on very uneven ridges and slopes. The houses in (31) both are crowded as at Kamahu and are similarly built but the ridge does not slope so much to the rear. There is the same chamber in the verandah for the "widow indeed". The front of these houses is decorated with human skulls taken in fights by the owner. Each skull is supplied with a pair of horns either real or imitation. The eldest brother's verandah also receives the heads taken by the junior members of his family. Many of the verandahs contain posts carved with figures and mithan heads. These signify that the occupant has been the giver of a feast. The human figures thus being added simply for effect.
text: The dead here are placed in trees as at Tangsa etc. They are also placed in small houses on platforms as at Kamahu etc except that only one body is contained in one shed. These houses have a small window in the left side. Carved beaks with red tufts project from the mat coffin. When bodies are newly placed there, fires are lighted in front to keep off the smell
text: The men in these villages wear the loin flap, the inner end taken up behind. These are white embroidered with red, as at Kamahu, or white with black stripes and cowries.
text: Men in these villages tattoo on the chest after taking a head. A new form of tattoo is shown in the margin.
text: I am told that the houses or roofs rather built over the roads are intended for the accomodation of field labourers when overtaken by rain and unable to reach the village either going to or coming from work.
text: There and at Tangsa etc. the dao sheaths are carved with circles. (1)