The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

published - extracts from 'Descriptive Ethnography of Bengal' on Nagas by E.T. Dalton

caption: Section 6. The Nagas of Upper Asam
caption: houses: of chiefs; of others; skull shelves; British Government of Asam; murder by Nagas punished by punitive expeditions
medium: articles
ethnicgroup: MithunTablongChagnoiMulongJobokaNamsangyaBordwariaPaidwariaSoto
location: Sangnoi
person: Dalton/ E.T.
date: 1872
text: The houses of the chiefs are of great size; that of the Sangnoi Chief was found to be 250 to 300 feet in length, a well constructed building occupying the centre and highest position in the village as the manor house. The houses of the common people are very much smaller, but still considerable and substancial buildings. I find no written description of any of these houses, and so many years have elapsed since I saw one, that I cannot altogether trust to my memory.
text: In front of the Chief's house, as well as inside it, are numerous trophies of the chase and memorials of feasts, and in a separate house, dedicated to the collection, memorials of ferocity and vengeance,- human skulls arranged in shelves like books, the records of recent achievements, and baskets full of fragments of skulls, the memorials of the bloody deeds of their forefathers.
text: On our assuming the government of Upper Asam, attention was soon directed to the cold blooded murders committed by the Nagas on British subjects, and several expeditions to their hills were undertaken with the view of putting a stop to the practice. We thus became acquainted with various tribes of Abor Nagas (Abor, in Assamese, means "independent".) as the Mithun, Tablong, Chagnoi, Mulong, and Joboka. The Namsangyas, Bordwarias and Paidwarias, Soto, and others, had been previously in habits of peaceful intercourse with the people of the plains.