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: raids ; all skulls of equal value
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
person: Furer-Haimendorf/ C.
date: 1969
refnum: with permission from Holt, Rinehart & Winston, New York95:3
text: Only in exceptional cases did warriors set out on a raid with the intention of wiping out an opposing village. The main aim of raiding was the capture of heads, and when the score of those gained and lost was more or less even, negotiations tended to lead to the re-establishment of peace. The only gains of such a period of warfare, extending perhaps over five or six years, were the heads captured by each side. They were carefully preserved and fed with rice beer at all feasts. There was the definite belief that their presence enhanced the fertility and prosperity of the village. The sex, age, and status of the victims were of little relevance. Old people, women, and children would be killed as occasion offered, and the capture of their heads earned the slayer hardly less prestige than the killing of armed warriors. Konyaks avoided open fights whenever possible, for to die in battle was considered not a glorious but a disgraceful fate.