The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

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

caption: head hunting
caption: causes of war, nature of war and search for skulls
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York95:2
text: While head-hunting cannot be considered simply as a concomitant of tribal warfare, the wish to capture heads seems to have been the cause of many feuds between villages which had otherwise no conflicting interests. Konyaks did not normally go to war to enlarge their territory or to loot their opponents. True, there were cases of chiefs expanding their domain by attacking and subjugating a smaller village , but most villages coexisted for generations without disputing the boundaries separating their territories, and periods of peace, intermarriage, and a limited barter trade alternated with times when the neighbors faced each other as enemies, each side eager to capture heads if the opportunity arose. Even then there were few large-scale battles or attacks, but after an incident, sparked perhaps by a dispute over the breakup of a marriage between a chief and his wife belonging to another ruling house, there would be ambushes on lone villagers venturing too close to hostile territory or perhaps an assault on a fishing or hunting party.