The Nagas

Hill Peoples of Northeast India

Project Introduction The Naga Database

book : Return to the Naked Nagas (1939;1976)

caption: Chapter Four. Above the Clouds
caption: village granaries; lovers' sleeping places; beliefs concerning magic of fertility
medium: books
ethnicgroup: Konyak
location: Wakching
person: Furer-Haimendorf
date: 6.1936-6.1937
text: Leaving the corpse-platforms, we passed through the narrow street of the village granaries, guardians, in more than one way, of the village productivity. Their strong doors, with carvings of (33) buffalo horns, were tightly bolted, and round stones, used to beat open the bolts, hung in baskets near the doors. Without locks and keys, the Nagas have hit upon this simple and ingenious device against grain-thieves, for stealth is impossible where bolts must be hammered open. The small veranda in front of the door is partly protected by plaited bamboo mats, and here young lovers come at night and spend many happy hours completely undisturbed. The owners of the granaries welcome such guests; for are they not ample protection -- surer than any bolt -- against prowling grain-thieves? And then there is a belief that the magical current emanating from human fertility benefits the seed-rice heaped in the store baskets inside the granaries.