The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : 'Konyak Nagas' by Christoph von Furer-Haimendorf, (1969)

caption: Chapter One. The Material Background
caption: specialist metal-workers ; blacksmiths' craft
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York18:5
text: While every Konyak knew how to make baskets and most had tried their hand at carving wood, the working of metal was practised by specialist craftsmen. There were men who worked as blacksmiths or brass founders in addition to cultivating their land, but a skilled blacksmith could earn a good living by the sale of the weapons and ornaments he manufactured, and he would often give up tilling the soil. There were villages in which no man worked metal, but in larger villages such as Wakching there were two or three smithies. No blacksmith could work alone; he needed an assistant to blow the bellows, and this task would be undertaken by his wife, or by one of his sons. The craft of blacksmith was often handed down from father to son, but it was not restricted to any particular clan or family. Unlike the blacksmiths of some other Indian tribal populations, the Konyak blacksmiths did not occupy an exceptional social position.