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 7. (2) - The Kukis
caption: disposal of the dead; smoking bodies; feasts; burial; skulls; human sacrifice on Raja's death
medium: articles
person: Dalton/ E.T.
date: 1872
text: The Kukis bury their dead; but even amongst the poor the bodies are first allowed to lie in state for several days. The bodies of great men are placed before slow fires till the flesh is effectually smoke dried, and then laid out dressed and equipped for a month or two, during which time open house is kept amidst great feasting. Eventually the body is buried with food and drink, and with the skulls of animals slaughtered for the funeral feast a fence is made round the grave. It was at one time considered essential that a fresh skull of a human (48) victim killed for the occasion, should adorn the grave of a raja, but the Kukis settled in British territory have found it convenient to abandon this observance.