The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: Chapter Three. Phases of Life
caption: variations on funerary ritual in a Thenkoh village
medium: books
person: Namsang
ethnicgroup: Konyak
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York92:3
text: A variation of the usual funerary customs was found in the Thenkoh village of Namsang. There, the skull, after being wrenched from the body and cleaned, was kept for several months in the house of the family of the deceased. It was set up on a kind of altar and decorated with the ornaments that the deceased had used during his lifetime; whenever the family ate, a small portion of the meal was offered to the skull. At the time of the final disposal, the oldest man of the dead man's morung sacrificed a pig or a cow. Then all the clansmen of the deceased assembled and took the skull to the burial ground of the clan. There, it was put into a stone cist or a pot and covered with a cloth or a stone slab. The officiating elder addressed the deceased for the last time, begging him not to take any of his relatives with him and not to return to his own house. The invocation usually also contained a reference to one of the malevolent spirits living in the earth and believed to be the cause of many deaths.